ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - If the Los Angeles Angels have finally run out of patience with beleaguered Joe Blanton, they're keeping it to themselves.
Blanton failed to make it to the fifth inning for the fourth time this season, throwing 90 pitches in 3 2-3 innings and giving up his major league-worst 24th home run in a 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Monday night.
``When he struggles, he really struggles,' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``Joe made some good pitches but he just missed with some spots. He was at 90 pitches and wasn't out of the fourth. With 11 baserunners, things just weren't falling his way. He's out there trying. There's nobody trying harder than Joe, but it just didn't come together tonight.'
Blanton (2-13) gave up four runs and nine hits. The right-hander, who has allowed a big league-worst 157 hits, is 0-5 with a 5.46 ERA in 10 starts at Angel Stadium after signing a two-year, $15 million contract in December as a free agent. His only victories have come against the Royals and Astros, who are a combined 38 games under .500.
With Tommy Hanson coming off the disabled list to start Tuesday night's game, the Angels don't have much more time to wait for Blanton to turn his season around.
``It was a tough outing for Joe, and we'll assess things as we start to get guys back,' Scioscia said. ``You're always looking to improve where you team is and where your rotation is. We're going to sit back and look at some things, but we don't have to make that decision now, and I'm not going to go through our options now. We're not going to make any decisions tonight.'
Minnesota took a 2-1 lead in the second on two-out RBI doubles by Clete Thomas and Aaron Hicks, the eighth and ninth hitters. The Angels tied it in the third with an RBI single by Mike Trout that extended his career-best hitting streak to 14 games, but the Twins went back in front 4-2 with a pair of fourth-inning runs.
Thomas put Minnesota ahead with his fourth homer. J.B. Shuck threw out Hicks at the plate from left field as he tried to score from second on Brian Dozier's single, but Doug Bernier doubled on the next pitch for his first major league hit, driving in Dozier.
Bernier, the Twins' 33-year-old shortstop, was playing in his fourth big league game and making his first start in the majors since June 19, 2008, with Colorado. He was recalled from Triple-A Rochester on July 14, more than 11 years after signing his first professional contract.
Samuel Deduno (6-4) allowed two runs, four hits and five walks over seven innings while striking out five on the anniversary of his first big league victory. The 30-year-old right-hander faced a lineup missing cleanup hitter Josh Hamilton because of stiffness in his right ankle.
Thomas robbed pinch-hitter Chris Iannetta of a three-run homer in the eighth. One inning earlier, the Angels wasted a leadoff triple as Deduno struck out Erick Aybar and Shuck before retiring Trout on a grounder.
``Chris missed by about 10 inches of getting a home run that was going to put us ahead,' Scioscia said. ``We pressured them as the game went on. We had a runner on third base with nobody out and couldn't score, and those things came back to haunt us.'
Casey Fien gave up two hits in the eighth and was replaced by All-Star closer Glen Perkins. Pinch-hitter Collin Cowgill greeted the left-hander with an RBI single, and Iannetta drove the next pitch on a high arc toward the left-field fence, where Thomas made a leaping grab.
``That's the best feeling ever,' said Thomas, who also took a homer away from Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera in Sunday's 7-1 victory at Target Field. ``Instead of being down by two in the ninth, we were up by one. I knew I had a chance, as long as I had room and had a good read on the ball. I had it the whole way. It was awesome.'
Perkins escaped with his 24th save in 26 chances, extending his scoreless streak to 19 1-3 innings after striking out Albert Pujols and Howie Kendrick in the ninth with two on.
``It's the first time we've tried that with Perk - bringing him on in the eighth inning to get an out there and see what happens,' manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``We said we were going to do these things if we knew there was a lefty coming up. Perk's our best pitcher, and he got it done.'
The Angels opened the scoring in the first without the benefit of a hit. Deduno walked his first two batters, and Kendrick hit a sacrifice fly.
NOTES: Blanton, pitching for the first time since his angry dugout confrontation with Iannetta and pitching coach Mike Butcher during a 4-3 loss in Seattle on July 14, had Hank Conger as his batterymate this time. ``Hank works pretty good with Joe right now, and we have to do everything we can do to get Joe on board,' Scioscia said before the game. ... In Blanton's five starts with Conger behind the plate, he is 0-3 with a 4.97 ERA and seven home runs allowed. In his 15 starts with Iannetta flashing the signs, Blanton is 2-10 with a 5.90 ERA and 17 homers allowed. ... Hamilton was the only player on the Angels' roster who had faced Deduno before Monday.
The Associated Press News Service
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