The Los Angeles Angels’ schedule limited Shohei Ohtani’s chances to hit over the past four games. When the Angels got back home and put their two-way rookie sensation back in the lineup, Ohtani hadn’t missed a beat.
Neither had the rest of the Angels, who are putting big offensive numbers almost every night lately.
Ohtani hit his fifth homer and added an RBI double, and Ian Kinsler had a two-run homer among his three hits in the Angels’ seventh win in nine games, 7-4 over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.
Justin Upton also homered in his third straight game and Kole Calhoun drove in the tiebreaking run in the sixth inning as the Angels snapped Minnesota’s five-game winning streak.
Los Angeles has scored at least five runs in seven of its last eight games, and nearly everybody in a halo cap had a big hit in the opener of an 11-game homestand.
Ohtani was outstanding in his first start at designated hitter since last Friday. His pitching duties and two interleague games had limited him to two at-bats in the past four games.
“I’m still making little adjustments every day, each at-bat,” said Ohtani, who has a hit in 14 of his 16 starts as a DH. “I’m still learning.”
Ohtani turned Trevor Hildenberger’s belt-high outside sinker into his first homer of May, blasting it 413 feet to the fake rock pile beyond left-center field in the seventh inning.
Ohtani also drove in Albert Pujols in the third for his first multi-RBI game since April 12, showing off his incredible speed on the basepaths while taking second.
“We knew he was dangerous,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. “We’ve got to pitch him carefully, make him aware of the inside of the plate, but if you make mistakes, he’s going to hit them.”
Andrelton Simmons had three hits for the Angels, and Garrett Richards pitched five-hit ball into the sixth inning of the opener of the Angels’ longest homestand of the season.
Brian Dozier hit a three-run homer off Richards in the sixth inning before Max Kepler followed with a tying solo shot off Jose Alvarez (2-0). But the Angels reclaimed the lead moments later and eventually ended Minnesota’s longest streak of the season.
“I probably couldn’t have thrown the ball better (in the first five innings), to be honest,” said Richards, who yielded only two singles before the sixth. “It’s disappointing to have the whole outing kind of tarnished.”
After Kinsler hit his first homer since April 12 in the second inning, Upton added a solo shot in the third, giving him four homers in five games. Pujols and Ohtani followed with back-to-back doubles for a 4-0 lead.
Los Angeles answered with a rally that began with Simmons’ single off Jose Berrios (3-4), who yielded seven hits and five runs.
Pujols was honored briefly in the first inning for getting his 3,000th hit last Friday in Seattle. His 3,005th career hit in the third inning gave him a seven-game hitting streak. He also flawlessly turned a key 3-6-3 double play at first base to end the seventh.
Calhoun is in a 5-for-63 slump over the past month, but he drove in the go-ahead run with a line-drive sacrifice fly to the wall. He hit another fly to the warning track in the eighth.
Jim Johnson pitched the ninth for his first save since joining the Angels in the offseason. The veteran reliever had two strikeouts.
Twins: CF Byron Buxton was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list, and he went 0 for 2 with a walk while batting ninth. Buxton was out with migraines and a subsequent broken toe after fouling a ball off his foot during a rehab assignment.
Angels: Reliever Keynan Middleton returned from the disabled list after missing 10 days with right elbow inflammation. He yielded two walks and a double while pitching a scoreless eighth. … RHP Matt Shoemaker isn’t making progress in his return from a forearm strain, manager Mike Scioscia said. His throwing program has been shut down. He made only one start this season before his latest injury problem.
Twins: Lance Lynn (1-3, 7.28 ERA) is coming off his first victory in a rough season. He hasn’t faced Los Angeles since July 2013, and he has never beaten an AL West team.
Angels: Tyler Skaggs (3-2, 3.08 ERA) makes his first career appearance against Minnesota. He has allowed more than two runs just once in seven starts this season.