The Anaheim Angels are clicking at just the right time.
Fresh off one of their best offensive performances of the season, the Angels try for their season high-tying ninth straight win as they open a three-game series with the visiting Minnesota Twins.
The Angels pounded the Kansas City Royals 21-6 on Wednesday, matching season highs for runs and hits (22) and setting a franchise record for runs in a home game. Anaheim also wrapped up its first-ever season series sweep of an AL opponent and moved a season-high 19 games above .500.
“We’re playing great baseball right now,” outfielder Jose Guillen said. “We’re hitting well, we’re pitching great, running the bases well. Everything is coming together at the right time.”
Jose Molina hit his first career grand slam and Garrett Anderson had a three-run homer and five RBIs. However, the night belonged to backup outfielder Jeff DaVanon, who became the first Angels player since Dave Winfield in 1991 to hit for the cycle.
“This was something special, and it was fun to watch,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “He’s got the potential to do things like that. He’s got terrific speed, and he’s showed some power.”
DaVanon, who tied a major league record last season with three consecutive two-homer games, is the sixth player to hit for the cycle this season.
“This is a very special night,” he said. “This was definitely one thing I’ve tried to achieve in my career. I know that was very hard to do. I had one in A-ball, but it doesn’t really count, I guess.”
The Angels are a half-game behind the Boston Red Sox for the top spot in the AL wild-card standings. The Red Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 4-1 on Thursday and have won nine of their last 10. Anaheim is also just one game behind AL West-leading Oakland.
The Angels lost the first two games of their three-game series with the AL Central-leading Twins in early August, but rebounded to win the finale and have run off 16 victories in 20 games.
“It’s still the same tough Minnesota team we’re used to playing, even if they have a few personnel changes,” said Scioscia, whose team beat Minnesota in the AL championship series in 2002 en route to a World Series title.
“They pitch well, they play great defense, and they do what they have to do to pressure you and score runs. They’re one of the best teams in our league.”
Minnesota’s starters had gone 7-0 with a 2.85 ERA in the previous 10 games before Terry Mulholland allowed seven runs and nine hits in just 3 2-3 innings Thursday.