Angels 9, Twins 6
Kennedy, who hit three homers against Minnesota in the clinching game of the 2002 AL championship series to earn MVP honors, had not homered in 141 regular-season at-bats against the Twins before connecting in the fourth to give Anaheim a 4-2 lead.
“It seemed like this one was just as big,” Kennedy said with a grin. “It was a different situation, but I’ll take ‘em all. Radke doesn’t give up too many longballs, and we got a couple of big ones off him tonight. We just had good at-bats and kept rolling.”
The second baseman entered the game with a .193 regular-season average against Minnesota—and was just 5-for-57 against the Twins since the playoff series that sent the Angels to their first World Series.
“They have a great staff and their bullpen is really good, so any at-bats against them aren’t easy,” Kennedy said.
Aaron Sele (8-1) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings, improving to 17-4 in his career against the Twins while helping the Angels match their longest winning streak of the season. Anaheim has won 17 of 21 overall to move a season-best 20 games over .500.
Radke (9-7) pitched 5 2-3 innings, allowing nine runs and 15 hits—both season highs. The right-hander, who won his previous four decisions, entered 12-5 lifetime against the Angels with a 1.65 ERA, his lowest against any AL opponent.
Minnesota’s lead in the AL Central was reduced to seven games over Cleveland. A bigger blow to the Twins was losing third baseman Corey Koskie, who injured his left ankle while making a tag play in the fourth inning and was taken to the hospital for X-rays.
The Twins struggled on defense during Anaheim’s five-run sixth. Shannon Stewart, who opened the game with his ninth home run, gave back the run when he lost track of the outs.
Kennedy tagged up at second on David Eckstein’s one-out fly to the left-field warning track, and Stewart started jogging in with his head down as Kennedy alertly scampered home for an unorthodox sacrifice fly.
“It’s the first time that’s happened to me,” said Stewart, a 10-year major league veteran. “It’s embarrassing, but I can’t explain it. I’m always into the game, but it was just one of those things. I don’t know how it happened. There’s nothing I could do but sit there and say I messed up. I’m glad it didn’t happen in a playoff game.”
After Torii Hunter hit a two-run single in the ninth, Troy Percival struck out rookie Justin Morneau with two on for his 26th save in 31 chances. Percival, who entered with the bases loaded, extended his scoreless streak against Minnesota to 40 innings spanning 39 career appearances.
“There was just no luck for me tonight,” Radke said. “They hit the ball hard, they hit the ball soft, they bunted, they did it all. These guys are hot. They have a pretty good lineup over there.”
DaVanon, who hit for the cycle in Wednesday night’s 21-6 victory over Kansas City, sprained his right ankle dodging Figgins’ line drive to left and was replaced as the DH by Curtis Pride.
The Twins loaded the bases in the third with a one-out single by Hunter and a pair of walks, but Sele escaped unscathed when Koskie lined out to second and Morneau was trapped off the bag for a double play.
Koskie was injured tagging out Pride at third base on a grounder to shortstop by Bengie Molina. Koskie was 0-for-2, ending his career-best hitting streak at 15 games. Kennedy’s homer came two pitches later.
“It happened so quickly,” Pride said. “I was just trying to slide into third and he looked like he dropped to his knee when he took the throw on his backhand. I had no choice but to slide. I didn’t realize how bad it was. Hopefully, he’s OK.”
Twins RHP Joe Mays, who gave up two of the three home runs Kennedy hit in the ALCS clincher, has been shut down for the rest of the season after experiencing soreness in his elbow during a simulated game earlier this week. Mays hasn’t pitched for the Twins since undergoing Tommy John surgery on his elbow last September. … The previous nine games between the teams were at the Metrodome, including three last season.