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Late inning blues, again: Angels top Twins in 9th 8-5

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OK, they do have the best record in the majors. So maybe we shouldn't be surprised.

But for the third time in as many nights, the Twins had the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on the ropes – only to see the Californians send the winning run across the plate in the ninth inning or later.

The Star Tribune contrasted the teams this way: The Angels capitalize. The Twins capitulate.

On this night starting pitcher Phil Hughes left the game after seven innings with a 5-3 lead. The bullpen struggles that followed were a group effort. Casey Fien allowed the tying runs to score in the eighth inning. Jared Burton then gave up a 2-run double to Albert Pujols in the ninth. The Angels also scored an insurance run off of Anthony Swarzak.

To be fair, Minnesota's hitters also had a hand in the meltdown, particularly when Joe Mauer led off the eighth inning with a double and was stranded at second base by a strikeout and a pair of ground outs.

Los Angeles' victory allowed the Angels to hold onto their six game lead over the Oakland A's in the American League's western division.

The Twins' frustrating loss came with an extra dose of bad news: center fielder Danny Santana strained a back muscle while making a throw in the second inning and had to leave the game. Santana's .320 batting average is among the best on the Twins and is second in the league among rookies.

Speaking of rookies, lefthander Logan Darnell gets a spot start for the Twins in Sunday's series finale. He's taking the place of Tommy Milone, who is resting a fatigued arm.

C.J. Wilson will start the 1:10 p.m. game for the Angels, who now have 42 come-from-behind victories this season. And three in as many nights.

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