This time, Angels need only nine innings to smash Twins
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- This time, the Los Angeles Angels needed only nine innings to rout the Minnesota Twins.
A night after scoring 11 runs off a season-high 19 hits in extra innings, the Angels nearly matched the feat by beating the Twins 11-6 off 18 hits Saturday night. Kendry Morales, Maicer Izturis and Juan Rivera each homered in the sixth inning and Joe Saunders won for the first time in more than a month.
The Angels have 67 homers over the last 43 games after totaling 44 in the first 58. And they've recently been without two of their biggest sluggers, Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter.
"The way we're swinging the bats right now, I mean, who wouldn't want to pitch?" Saunders said. "We're on fire right now at the plate, hitters have a lot of confidence right now and we're dangerous. We've got two of our big dogs out right now, which is a good sign. When they come back, look out."
The rout spoiled the Minnesota debut of Orlando Cabrera, who went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored a day after being traded from Oakland to shore up the Twins' infield.
"Unfortunately we lost, but there's a lot of energy in the dugout," Cabrera said. "I know we can hit, we can score a lot of runs. It's going to be a nice transition. Everyone welcomed me nicely."
Cabrera received a loud ovation during player introductions and his first at-bat. But it was an otherwise quiet night for the Twins.
Saunders (9-6) worked six innings, allowing nine hits and four runs. His previous win came June 24 against Colorado.
"It's nice, it's obviously nice for me, nice for the club," Saunders said.
Gary Matthews Jr. drove in three runs against Twins starter Anthony Swarzak (3-4), who lasted only three innings and gave up six runs. It was a far cry from when the Angels faced Swarzak last Sunday, when only seven of the 28 batters he faced reached base in Minnesota's 10-1 victory.
"They made some adjustments on him, but his stuff just wasn't as good as his stuff last time out," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's going to happen, especially with a young pitcher."
R.A. Dickey relieved Swarzak in the fourth with Minnesota trailing 6-4.
Los Angeles padded its lead in the sixth after Izturis' three-run shot off Dickey. Two batters later, Rivera and Morales hit back-to-back homers to put the game away.
It was a strong start to August for the team that led the majors with 185 runs scored in July.
"A month ago we were talking about how the slugging percentage potential of this club was there," manager Mike Scioscia said. "The last 50-60 games, it's been a big part of our resurgence. Combine that with I think we're running the bases well, our situational hitting has been terrific, we're getting on base. Offensively there's a lot of different pieces, a lot of guys contributing."
Justin Morneau drove in two runs for the Twins, including a solo homer in the seventh to make it 11-5.
Arriving at the Metrodome about three hours before first pitch, Cabrera got his first hit for Minnesota in the third when he doubled down the right-field line, advancing Denard Span to third. Two batters later, Cabrera scored when Morneau singled to pull Minnesota to 5-4. Cabrera's single in the eighth scored Nick Punto to make it 11-6.
"It was a good start for Cabrera," Gardenhire said. "That's what we want to see from him. He was shooting the ball the other way and hitting the ball well."
Notes: The win gave the Angels 62 wins -- tied with the New York Yankees for second-most in the majors -- and put them a season-high 22 games over .500. ... Izturis tied his career-high with four RBIs. ... Gardenhire said OF Michael Cuddyer would likely miss the rest of the series due to back stiffness. ... The Twins gave up three homers in an inning for the first time since Aug. 17 of last season against Seattle. Conversely, it was the second time the Angels have hit three homers in an inning. They had three against Cleveland last season on July 27.