MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jo Adell homered, Kenny Rosenberg outpitched Sonny Gray and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Twins 1-0 on Saturday, a day after Minnesota clinched the AL Central title.
Rosenberg (2-2), a 28-year-old left-hander making his fourth big league start and ninth appearance, allowed five hits and two walks in five innings with five strikeouts. Carlos Estévez, the Angels’ fourth reliever, hit Kyle Farmer with a pitch starting the ninth, then got three straight outs for his 31st save in 35 chances.
“Sometimes your best results aren’t necessarily your best execution or your best stuff,” Rosenberg said. “I felt like I was good. I didn’t feel like I had my best stuff, but navigated some runners on base in the first inning and then a couple really nice plays behind me defensively.”
Gray (8-8) allowed a fourth-inning homer to Adell on a first-pitch sinker, just the eighth home run off Gray this season. He gave up four hits in six innings and struck out eight, lowering his ERA from 2.84 to 2.80, second in the AL to the New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole at 2.75.
Gray possibly will make one more regular-season start. He has pitched 180 innings, his most since throwing 208 in 2015. He is the eighth pitcher since 2000 to throw at least 180 innings with eight or fewer homers allowed.
“I felt strong. I felt convicted,” Gray said. “I tried to just enjoy everything that I could yesterday and last night, then also know that, for me, I had a job to do today.”
Starting in place of injured center fielder Mike Trout, Adell hit a 428-foot drive to center for his third homer this season. Adell also made a leaping catch in front of the wall to rob Michael A. Taylor in the sixth.
“He’s so strong that it may not hit the middle of the barrel, he can still get them out,” Los Angeles manager Phil Nevin said of Adell. “He’s impressing me. He really has. It’s just the work he’s put in, the improvements he’s made over the time I’ve gotten here ’til now. I’m not sure I’ve seen someone improve that much over a short period of time.”
Los Angeles (70-85), assured of its eighth straight losing season, won for just the second time in nine games.
After their late-night celebration of a division title, several of the Twins regulars were out of the lineup. But Minnesota clinched the AL Central for the third time in five seasons under manager Rocco Baldelli and likely will be the No. 3 seed for the postseason.
There is a small chance the Twins could catch the AL West leader for the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye, but Baldelli conceded before the game that scenario is unlikely.
“We’re going to try to win every game and see what happens at that point,” Baldelli said before the game. “I do know it’s very unlikely even if we win virtually every game from here on out. To get a bye, it’s going to be a very difficult thing.”
Nolan Schanuel singled in the eighth inning off Josh Winder, extending his streak of reaching base at the start of his big league career to 26 games, Schanuel, the 11th overall pick in this year’s amateur draft, trails only Alvin Davis (47 games in 1984), Truck Hannah (38 games in 1918) and Enos Slaughter (29 in 1938).
Twins left-hander Dallas Keuchel, the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner, reached 10 years of major league service time, and the team honored him in the clubhouse before the game. Part of the celebration included members of the team wearing fake beards in honor of Keuchel and his longtime facial hair.
Keuchel made his debut on June 17, 2012, for the Houston Astros and returned to the major leagues with the Twins on Aug. 3. He is 102-92 with a 4.01 ERA,
Reaching 10 years of service time vests him fully in the players’ pension plan.
“It’s been on my mind for a few years,” Keuchel said. “Last year it was on my mind a little bit more than I should’ve been. When you’re kind of struggling and going through some stuff, it kind of keeps you going. But at the same time, it kind of frustrates you because it’s so close.”
Angels: Nevin said 3B Anthony Rendon (bruised left shin) won’t return this season. … RHP Jamie Barria (right hamstring tightness) was activated from the 15-day injured list. LHP Jhonathan Diaz was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake.
Twins: RHP Brock Stewart (right elbow soreness), who was a key piece of the bullpen in the middle part of the season, had another successful rehab outing with Triple-A St. Paul on Friday night. He struck out two in a scoreless inning and has pitched three scoreless innings in three rehab appearances.
RHP Joe Ryan (10-10, 4.30 ERA) starts the series finale Sunday for Minnesota. Los Angeles had LHP Tyler Anderson scheduled but Nevin announced after the game that Anderson wouldn’t start due to knee soreness and he’ll be placed on the injured list. Nevin didn’t announce a replacement.