Arcia's hit in the 12th lifts Twins over Angels 3-2
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) A season of exile in the minor leagues left Oswaldo Arcia searching for ways to get back in the Minnesota Twins' good graces.
Going to the opposite field in a big moment for the second game in a row was a good place to start.
Arcia's single down the left field line scored Byron Buxton in the 12th inning and the Twins completed a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels with a 3-2 victory on Sunday.
Arcia hit a big home run to left in the eighth inning on Saturday, then beat the shift twice on Sunday to show a more mature approach at the plate. Arcia was a prized young player when he hit 20 homers in 2014, but fell out of favor with a hot-headed, homer-hunting swing and spent almost all of last season in the minors, including all of September after rosters expanded.
''I guess I have to keep reminding myself that that lad is still 24,'' general manager Terry Ryan said before the game. ''It seems like he's 34, he's been around so long. But he's 24 years old and I've got to remember that and make sure everybody else remembers that as well.''
Trevor Plouffe had three hits and an RBI and Kyle Gibson gave up two runs on four hits in seven innings for the Twins, who have won three straight after starting the season 0-9. Michael Tonkin (1-0) struck out four in two innings for his first win.
Albert Pujols hit his 562nd career home run for the Angels. Nick Tropeano gave up one run on five hits and struck out three in 5 2-3 innings, but the Angels managed just four hits, none over the final eight innings.
The Twins got 13 hits and were on the bases all day against Angels pitching. But they had a hard time cashing in until the 12th when the played Arcia to pull. The left-handed hitter beat the shift for the third time in two days and Buxton scored easily from second.
''After (last) season was over, I went down to Fort Myers to work for moments like this,'' Arcia said through a translator. ''I just want to keep helping this team and put me in positions like this to help the team win.''
Cory Rasmus (0-1) got one out.
Pujols hit a two-run shot into the second deck in left field in the first inning. His second homer of the season, and of the series, moved him within one of tying Reggie Jackson for 13th on baseball's career list.
The Twins came back to tie it with a double from Plouffe in the fourth and a groundout from Oswaldo Arcia in the eighth, and the Angels went 0 for 12 with seven strikeouts over the final four innings.
''The hits just aren't coming,'' Angels second baseman Johnny Giavotella said. That's the way baseball is. There's a lot of ups and downs, you got to weather the storm and have confidence in who you are as a player.''
The hard-throwing right-hander had only appeared in two of the first 11 games, so he was fresh when he took the mound in the 11th. He struck out Mike Trout and Pujols and hit 97 on the radar gun in the 12th while blowing away Andrelton Simmons and Carlos Perez.
Angels: Manager Mike Scioscia said LHP Andrew Heaney (left elbow) is making progress, but there remains no timetable for his return to throwing. ''He's got a ways to go,'' he said. ''It's a controlled progression, so he's got a little ways to go before he's on the mound.''
Twins: Plouffe had to leave the game in the 11th inning with a right intercostal strain in his ribcage. He said he will try to rest for a day to two before they make a decision on a disabled list stint.
Angels: LHP Hector Santiago (0-0, 3.00) will face the team that drafted him in the 30th round when the Angels open a series in Chicago against LHP Carlos Rodon (1-1, 1.38) and the White Sox.
Twins: RHP Phil Hughes (0-2, 4.38) will try for his first win of the season when he faces RHP Chase Anderson (1-0, 0.00) in the series opener against Milwaukee.