It took more than half the season, but the Anaheim Angels are finally starting to resemble defending World Series champions.
The surging Angels look to extend their winning streak to five games as they close out a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins at Edison Field.
Hovering around the .500 mark for most of the first half, the Angels have won 11 of 15 to move five games over the break-even mark for the first time this season.
Angels pitchers have allowed just five runs during their winning streak, surrendering three or fewer in 10 of their last 15 games. The starting staff boasts a 2.83 ERA during the hot stretch.
On Saturday, Jarrod Washburn allowed one run and five hits over seven innings to lead the Angels to a 6-1 win over the Twins.
“It’s something we expect of ourselves, to pitch better than we all have so far this season,” said Washburn. “We all have a lot of pride. It feels good to pitch the way we’re capable of.”
The Twins have lost 21 of 27 and are in danger of dropping eight straight for the first time since Aug. 10-17, 2001.
In Saturday’s loss, Brad Radke allowed four runs—three earned—and eight hits over seven innings, extending his winless streak to 10 games.
The Twins have scored just two runs against the Angels and have scored four or fewer in six of their last seven.
“It can’t get any worse,” Radke said. “Hopefully, we can get a win under our belt before the break. Hopefully, we can do a lot of thinking the next three days and come out against Oakland (Thursday) with a little fire and intensity and looking like we want to win.”
STANDINGS: Twins - 2nd place, 6 1/2 GB, AL Central. Angels - 3rd place, 9 GB, AL West.
TWINS PROBABLE STARTER: Kyle Lohse (6-7, 4.63 ERA). The righty is 0-3 in his last five starts. Lohse is coming off his shortest outing of the season, an 8-6 loss to the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, when he gave up seven runs and 10 hits in three-plus innings. It was his fourth straight start in which he pitched less than six innings. In three career starts against the Angels, Lohse is 1-1 with 7.15 ERA.
ANGELS PROBABLE STARTER: John Lackey (6-8, 5.02 ERA). Lackey tossed 16 1-3 scoreless innings in winning back-to-back starts before Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to Kansas City. Lackey allowed all four runs and six hits in seven innings.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Twins - Jones, .314 avg.; Corey Koskie, 14 HRs and 48 runs; Koskie and Hunter, 55 RBIs; Rivas, 8 SBs. Angels - Garrett Anderson, .312 avg; 21 HRs and 77 RBIs; Tim Salmon and Glaus, 50 runs; Adam Kennedy, 11 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Angels, 2-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Twins - Batting coach Scott Ullger ran the Twins on Saturday in place of manager Ron Gardenhire, who served the one-game suspension he received in the aftermath of a July 3 beanball incident at Cleveland. … 3B Koskie was unable to start Saturday because of a strained lower back. Denny Hocking replaced him in the lineup. … The Twins have dropped eight straight road games. Angels - The Angels gave manager Mike Scioscia a two-year contract extension Saturday, just three days after new owner Arte Moreno rewarded general manager Bill Stoneman with a four-year extension. … Anaheim last swept the Twins from May 23-25, 2000, at Minnesota. … OF Erstad has two extra-base hits in last 20 games, both doubles.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Twins - 22-25 on the road; Angels - 28-20 at home.
INJURIES: Twins - 3B Koskie (back), day-to-day; OF Jacque Jones (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Fetters (hamstring), 60-day DL; LHP Eric Milton (knee surgery), 60-day DL. Angels - INF Brad Fullmer (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Mickey Callaway (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Matt Wise (elbow), 60-day DL.
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