Joe Blanton's struggles reached a pinnacle Monday night in the
Coming into the game at
Blanton didn't even make it out of the fourth inning, when Manager
This time there was no angry thrashing, no inanimate object in which Blanton vented his frustrations upon. Just an air or resignation as he clenched his shirt collar between his teeth, tucked his mitt under his left arm and trudged solemnly through the dugout, eyes blankly staring forward.
Blanton (2-13, 5.66 ERA) gave up four runs on nine hits while walking two in a tenuous 32/3-inning outing that pushed him to the verge of losing his spot in the rotation. A fourth-inning home run by Twins left fielder
Still, the Angels came within inches of pulling out a win.
After falling behind 4-2 in the fourth inning and making little headway against Twins starter Samuel Deduno (6-4, 3.50), they made it 4-3 when pinch-hitter
Then it was
But Thomas leaped to rob Iannetta of a home run.
In the ninth inning, the Angels had two runners on with one out, but
But Blanton's struggles far surpass that of the team's.
In 20 starts this season, his ERA hasn't dipped below 5.07. His frustrations boiled over after his last start when he shoved a Gatorade cooler onto the dugout floor. But Monday he looked simply defeated.
And the Angels have replacement options in relievers Billy Buckner, Michael Roth and
"Well, you're always looking to improve where your team is and where your rotation is," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's a tough outing for Joe, and we'll assess things as we start to get guys back and see where we are."
Early on, it appeared Deduno might be in for a long night as well. He walked
Two innings later, he served up an
But while Deduno worked out of his slow start, Blanton drowned in his. Thomas and Aaron Hicks, the Twins' No. 8 and 9 hitters, had back-to-back doubles in the second inning to make it 2-1 Minnesota. Thomas' solo shot in the fourth reclaimed the lead for the Twins at 3-2.