— Sports

Justin Upton’s grand slam powers Angels past Twins, 10-3

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Caleb Thielbar had two strikes on Mike Trout when both Angels runners advanced on a wild pitch. With first base suddenly open, Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli intentionally walked the three-time AL MVP to bring up Justin Upton.

When Upton smashed a grand slam, Baldelli‘s decision was easy to second-guess.

In truth, Los Angeles’ experienced hitters aren’t allowing their opponents many easy choices during a strong start to the season.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that know what they’re doing,” Upton said.

Upton hit his eighth career slam in the seventh inning, and Jared Walsh homered and drove in three runs in the Angels’ 10-3 victory over the Twins on Friday night.

Trout delivered a go-ahead, two-run single as the Angels opened a six-game homestand with a prolific offensive performance. Upton’s no-doubt homer – punctuated by his cool method of discarding his bat – was part of a six-run, six-hit rally in the seventh.

The veteran slugger didn’t deny getting some motivation from the Twins’ decision to pitch to him.

“You’ve got to use a little bit of it, I guess,” Upton said. “But it’s Mike Trout in front of you, so you’ve got to expect that. You’ve got to be prepared.”

Walsh immediately followed Upton’s shot with his fourth homer in 12 games to start the season.

Baldelli said the Twins had a second positive test from Friday morning’s batch. Without disclosing details, Baldelli said some members of Minnesota’s traveling party will be isolated at the team hotel for now, and he doesn’t expect the result to hinder the series.

LA TORTUGA’S 1-2-3

Willians Astudillo pitched the eighth inning for Minnesota in the second career mound appearance by a utilityman who has played every position. He retired the Angels in order on seven pitches, some as slow as 46 mph.

“You couldn’t really get in Willians’ way on this,” Baldelli said of Astudillo, who last pitched in 2018. “He was basically volunteering. I’m not surprised he can throw 45 mph strikes. He does it all.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: OF Byron Buxton sat out his fourth straight game with a mild hamstring strain. He planned to go through a full workout to test the injury.

Angels: Ohtani will throw in the bullpen Saturday before the team decides when his next start on the mound will occur. He hasn’t started since April 4 due to a blister on his right middle finger.

UP NEXT

José Quintana (0-1, 16.20 ERA) attempts to solve a poor start to his first season with the Angels. He faces Minnesota RHP Matt Shoemaker (1-0, 4.09), who set the Angels’ rookie record with 16 victories in 2014 to begin five injury-plagued seasons under the halo.

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