ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Struggling Angels pitcher Joel Pineiro is running out of answers. His last four starts have been miserable, and he doesn't know how to correct the problem.
``I wish I had an explanation for what is going on. I have no idea,' Pineiro said Wednesday night after the Minnesota Twins handed him his third straight loss with an 11-4 victory.
``I feel healthy and good. I have tried everything that I can. Honestly the next thing I could do is sacrifice a live chicken. I just don't know.'
The Twins hit a season-high five home runs against a staff that came in having allowed an AL-low 79. Two of them came off Pineiro - both by Delmon Young, doubling his season total.
``Those guys swung the bats well tonight,' manager Mike Scioscia said. ``We just had too many hitting counts for our guys to really get past anything. I think that has really been haunting Joel in his last handful of starts, and that is a rough combination.'
Pineiro (5-6) was charged with seven runs and seven hits in 4-1 innings. He has a 14.85 ERA over his last four outings, and has failed to make it through the fifth in three of them.
``It is easy to see that the ball isn't coming out of his hand the way that it needs to, and his command isn't there,' Scioscia said. ``Joel is strong when he is commanding the count and getting contact on his terms and making pitches. He hasn't been doing that lately. It has been a rough go. We are going to keep searching.'
Michael Cuddyer hit a tiebreaking grand slam and a solo shot, and Jason Kubel also went deep for the Twins. Anthony Swarzak (3-3) was credited with the victory, allowing one hit in five scoreless innings after taking over for ineffective starter Scott Baker. The right-hander recorded his sixth career victory and first in relief.
``Swarzy was huge, going all those innings,' manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Baker threw 77 pitches through three innings in his shortest outing of the season, allowing four runs - three earned - and five hits. He left with the score tied 4-all - as did Pineiro, who was lifted with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth. But Cuddyer drove Hisanori Takahashi's first pitch to left-center for his fifth grand slam and the first by the Twins.
``He threw me a changeup and I was waiting for it,' Cuddyer said. ``It that situation, man on third and less than two outs, I'm just basically trying to hit a sac fly. Fortunately, I was able to get a good part of the bat on it and was able to hit it out of the park. Delmon came up big with two homers and Kubel got one, so all around, it was a good night. We had a good approach at the plate. We were able to see the ball up and hit it.'
Kubel hit his seventh homer in the seventh against Takahashi, and Cuddyer added his 18th in the ninth against Horacio Ramirez.
Peter Bourjos homered for the Angels, who squandered a chance to tie Texas for the AL West lead for the first time since July 5 after the Rangers lost at Detroit. Scioscia returned to the dugout after serving a one-game suspension.
The Angels spotted Minnesota a 3-0 lead before pulling ahead with a four-run third. Bourjos led off with a drive into the lower seats in the left field corner, ending a streak of seven starts and 52 2-3 innings for Baker in which he did not allow a home run. Torii Hunter got the Halos even with a two-out, two-run single, and Alberto Callaspo capped the rally with an RBI single before he was erased in a rundown.
``I knew what I needed to do to be successful tonight, but it just wasn't happening,' said Baker, who threw 45 pitches in the third inning. ``There's very few times you have an inning with 40-something pitches, and that's kind of hard to recover from. I just felt like I was surviving tonight and not thriving. I was just getting by. I wasn't able to put guys away tonight, and they battled. There were a couple of occasions where I really could have used a good two-strike pitch.'
Young, who hadn't hit a home run since June 9, tied it in the fourth. In the second inning, he followed a leadoff single by Danny Valencia with a drive over the fence in left-center. It was Young's third career two-homer game and first since Oct. 4, 2009 against Kansas City.
``You know Pineiro is a sinkerballer, and what sinkerballers do is try to throw the ball down in the zone and get you to roll over the ball,' Gardenhire said. ``And if you chase and fall into the trap, that's his goal. But I thought we laid off some pitches early. He used his breaking ball, but we had some good at_bats overall and put the ball in play. And when he made some mistakes, we put them in the seats.'
Notes: Cuddyer is the only player still with the Twins from their 2002 AL Championship Series loss to the Angels. ... When Young homered, he became the 60th consecutive batter Piniero had faced without a strikeout. That drought ended when the next hitter, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, looked at a called third strike. ... The Twins have beaten the Angels 161 times on the road in the regular season, matching their win total against them at home. Both teams entered the American League in the 1961 expansion.
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