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MIN@LAA: Cuddyer breaks it open with a grand slam

ANAHEIM -- Home runs haven't exactly been easy to come by for the Twins this season.

They entered Wednesday night's game against the Angels with the second-fewest homers in the American League, with only two players in double digits.

But the Twins showcased a rare display of power on Wednesday, using Delmon Young's two homers, Michael Cuddyer's two blasts, including a tiebreaking grand slam, and Jason Kubel's solo shot in an 11-4 win over the Angels at Angel Stadium.

"It's good, especially when they took it to us [Tuesday] with a great pitching performance," Young said. "It's good to come out and see the bats work."

The season-high five homers proved to be crucial, as right-hander Scott Baker went just three innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits and a walk. It helped the Twins remain eight games back of the first-place Tigers, who won their third straight game earlier in the day.

It was also the first time the Twins hit five homers since doing it Aug. 10, 2010, against the White Sox.

"It was a good night for us swinging the bats," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We had some big nights with some guys getting on base atop of the lineup and guys in the middle like Cuddy and Delmon coming up with some big ones. It was pretty much all the way up and down the lineup tonight."

Young, who had two homers entering the game, was the first to go yard, as he hit a two-run shot in the third inning to help the Twins get out to a 3-0 lead.

The Angels, though, rallied for four runs in the third, as Baker labored through a 46-pitch inning. Torii Hunter provided a two-run single and later scored on an RBI single from Alberto Callaspo after Danny Valencia made an error on a grounder hit by Vernon Wells.

"They just keep fouling a bunch of pitches off," Baker said of the long inning. "I wasn't able to effectively put guys away tonight so that was the reason they battled. So there were a couple of occasions where I could've used a good two-strike pitch, but I just wasn't getting it where I needed it to be."

It was the last inning for Baker, who needed 77 pitches to record just nine outs, marking his shortest outing since going two innings against the Tigers on Sept. 2, 2010. Baker, though, didn't want to use his recent injury as an excuse, as he was making his third start since missing 14 games with an elbow strain.

"You either can pitch or you can't, and as of right now, I can pitch," Baker said. "If you ask anybody, nobody is perfect in here. So either you can do it or you can't, but tonight it was just strictly poor performance."

Young, though, helped bail out Baker by crushing a solo homer off Angels starter Joel Pineiro to tie the score in the fourth. It was Young's third career multi-homer game and his first since Oct. 4, 2009.

"Delmon can do that," Gardenhire said. "We saw him do a lot of damage last year with [112] RBIs. He can hit the ball long ways. He can hit the ball a long ways."

The Twins loaded the bases in the fifth for Cuddyer, but Pineiro was lifted in favor of left-hander Hisanori Takahashi after throwing just one ball to Cuddyer. But the decision to remove Pineiro in the middle of the at-bat backfired, as Cuddyer smacked Takahashi's first pitch for the Twins' first grand slam of the season.

"I think he was sitting on a changeup," Gardenhire said. "The first pitch he was looking for it. I don't think the guy is going to groove one with a 1-0 count or throw a fastball in there. So Cuddy decided to sit on a changeup and got it."

Kubel later joined the action with a shot in the seventh inning off Takahashi for his seventh homer. Cuddyer added a second long ball in the ninth to his team-leading 18th homer.

The Twins also received a strong effort from reliever Anthony Swarzak, who tossed five scoreless innings in relief to pick up the win.

"He has a good arm," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Swarzak, who also tossed eight scoreless innings against the Angels in a spot start on May 28. "He's started against us before and has good live stuff. He threw strikes and when they broke it open, that is what you want you guy to do. He did that." Comments