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Twins claw back but fall 5-4 to Angels in series opener – Twin Cities


ANAHEIM, Calif. — Hundreds of feet away from the action, in the bullpen in left field, Jhoan Duran was readying himself in the seventh inning.

It would seem he was preparing to face superstar Shohei Ohtani.

Except he didn’t.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli opted to let Griffin Jax face Ohtani, after he had already given up a single and a triple, wiping away the Twins’ one-run advantage. Jax’s 3-2 pitch to the star came close to clipping the corner, but instead, was ball four.

Jax was left to face the next hitter, too, surrendering the go-ahead run on a Hunter Renfroe single in the Twins’ eventual 5-4 loss on Friday night at Angel Stadium.

The late Angels comeback came on a night where the Twins had stormed back against starter Reid Detmers after spending most of his start doing little but swinging and missing at his offerings.

They did so 24 different times — mostly chasing after his slider — as he tied a career high with 12 strikeouts.

It took them until the sixth inning to collect their first hit off Detmers, a solid Byron Buxton single to left. And then, the floodgates opened.

Kyle Farmer’s single produced the Twins’ first run of the night, and pinch hitter Alex Kirilloff greeted reliever Jimmy Herget with a two-run double to tie the game up 3-3 at the time.

Shaky defense in the fourth inning had helped the Angels score a pair of runs off Twins starter Joe Ryan, who gave up three runs — two earned — in his six innings pitched.

The Twins took their first lead of the night in the seventh inning, with Willi Castro knocking a go-ahead home run off reliever Tucker Davidson. Michael A. Taylor looked as if he had a homer as well, but center fielder Mickey Moniak leapt up in center, timing it perfectly and came down with the ball, robbing Taylor of what could have been an important insurance run.

Moniak then later tied up the game with his triple off Jax before Renfroe completed the Angels’ comeback.

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