Twins 6, Angels 1

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Kyle Lohse made a big pitch to Scott Spiezio and Matthew LeCroy got a clutch hit with the bases loaded, keeping the Minnesota Twins close in the AL Central race.

Jacque Jones added a two-run homer and Luis Rivas doubled home two runs as the Twins beat the Anaheim Angels 6-1 Thursday to move within 1 1/2 games of the division lead.

Lohse (11-10) won for the fifth time in six starts, allowing a run, five hits and five walks in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out three and stranded four runners in scoring position. Anaheim got its only run in the third on Garret Anderson’s RBI single.

“I didn’t feel like I had my best stuff out there, but I battled and made pitches when I had to and got key outs in key situations,” Lohse said.

The Angels had a chance to pad their lead in the fifth with the bases loaded after a two-out walk to Anderson, who came to the plate 7-for-11 lifetime against the right-hander. But Spiezio—whose tiebreaking homer helped beat the Twins 5-4 Wednesday night—fouled out to third.

“I felt a little more comfortable going after Spiezio,” Lohse said. “I really didn’t want to make a mistake with Garret, so you pick your poison with those two. I just tried to keep the fastball away from Spiezio, and luckily he chased one out of the zone and popped it up.”

Lohse finished 5-1 with a 3.83 ERA in August after going 0-3 with an 11.51 ERA in five starts during July.

“Last month he was just throwing the ball and he got into a rut where, every time he got himself into a little trouble, he’d just rear back and let it fly—rather than pitching,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

“He made some adjustments on the pitching rubber and worked on his mechanics. But more than anything, he got his confidence back and saw that he could throw the ball in and out and not have to blow people away all the time.”

J.C. Romero got out of the seventh, LaTroy Hawkins worked a scoreless eighth and Eddie Guardado pitched a hitless ninth.

A two-out double by Rivas and a walk to Doug Mientkiewicz loaded the bases in the Minnesota sixth, and LeCroy followed with a single past Spiezio at third base that gave the Twins a 2-1 lead.

Ramon Ortiz (15-11) allowed five runs—three earned—and six hits in seven-plus innings. He must win five of a projected six remaining starts to become the Angels’ first 20-game winner since 1974, when Nolan Ryan won 22 and matched Clyde Wright’s 1970 club record.

“I’m not thinking about winning 20 games,” Ortiz said. “The only thing I think about is going hard every time I pitch and see what happens. That’s all I can do.”

Ortiz has received five or more runs of support in 30 of his last 32 wins dating to Sept. 7, 2001. The Angels have averaged 9.07 runs in those 30 wins. But in the 14 starts this season in which the Angels scored fewer than five runs, Ortiz is 2-11.

“I got a lot of wins this year because the team scored a lot of runs for me,” Ortiz said with a grin. “Today we got one run, but the next time, maybe 10 or 11. You never know.”

The Twins increased the margin to 4-1 in the eighth. Cristian Guzman reached when Ortiz dropped a toss to first from Adam Riggs for an error, Ortiz hit Shannon Stewart with a pitch, and Rivas chased the right-hander with a two-run double to left-center.

Francisco Rodriguez relieved and walked Mientkiewicz, who was thrown out at second by catcher Jose Molina on a pitch in the dirt that squirted a few feet to the right of the plate. But Jones drove a 3-2 pitch to left-center for his 13th homer and second of the series.

The last time the Twins were in Anaheim, just before the All-Star break,they were swept in a three-game series with Jones on the disabled list.

Notes

The Angels and Cleveland Indians have gone longer than any AL team without a 20-game winner. Gaylord Perry won 21 for the Tribe in 1974. … Anderson is second in the AL with 110 RBIs, nine fewer than Toronto’s Carlos Delgado. The only player in Angels history to win the league’s RBI title was Don Baylor, with 139 in 1979. … LHP Jarrod Washburn has allowed 31 home runs this season, making him only the second lefty in Angels history to give up at least 30. The other was Allen Watson, who surrendered 37 homers in 1997. Ortiz(2002) and Shawn Boskie (1996) share the club record with 40 allowed.

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