Twins homestand gives them room

MINNEAPOLIS - A successful homestand has not made the Minnesota Twins complacent.

Scott Baker pitched seven shutout innings, Michael Cuddyer had a bases-loaded double, and the Twins beat the Los Angeles Angels, 4-0, on Sunday night.

Danny Valencia homered for the Twins, who took two of three from Los Angeles.

Minnesota went 7-2 on its nine-game homestand to increase its lead in the AL Central to five games over struggling Chicago. The White Sox lost three extra-inning games on a 2-4 road trip, including Sunday in Kansas City.

“We’ve got more than a month left and every one of them counts,” Valencia said. “The last couple of years we’ve played a Game 163, and hopefully we can avoid that this year.”

Minnesota opens a crucial four-game series today at AL West-leading Texas.

“It doesn’t matter who we play. If it’s Texas, Kansas City, Baltimore, whoever, they’re all big games right now,” Cuddyer said.

Valencia homered to open the fifth against Jered Weaver (11-9). Orlando Hudson tripled with two outs, and Joe Mauer and Jason Kubel walked to load the bases.

Cuddyer fouled off five straight pitches with two strikes before hitting a ball to left-center that rolled to the wall. Cuddyer, now 3-for-18 lifetime against Weaver, was tagged out in a rundown trying to go to third.

“It was apparent from the get-go I was in swing mode. He probably could have rolled it up there and I would have struck out,” Cuddyer said. “Fortunately, he didn’t do that.”

That was plenty of support for Baker (11-9), who bounced back from a pair of poor performances where he left the ball up in the zone. He allowed eight earned runs in 102/3 innings in his previous two starts – both against Chicago.