Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer follows through on a home run. File photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Minnesota Twins aren't exactly a power-hitting bunch, their 58 home runs entering Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Angels better than only two other American League teams.
For one night, though, Minnesota bucked the trend.
The Twins smashed three homers in the first three innings and cruised to an 11-5 win over the Angels, taking the second game of the four-game series after winning Thursday as well.
Joe Mauer homered in the first inning and Robbie Grossman and Max Kepler each homered in the third -- all three coming with a man on base to give Minnesota a 6-0 lead.
In addition to his home run, Mauer also had three singles among the Twins' 15 hits.
"This has always been a good park for him to hit in," Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Mauer. "Even his out was to the track in left. He just seemed to be on everything. Fastball first time (for the home run), hit a changeup in the hole (for a single), curveball, another base hit to right-center. He was on everything."
The Twins added another run off Angels starter JC Ramirez in the fifth inning on Miguel Sano's RBI single, and pushed across four more runs off the Los Angeles' bullpen.
It was a windfall for Twins starter Kyle Gibson, who picked up just his second win of the season. It was a breakthrough outing of sorts for Gibson, who threw 98 pitches and lasted 5 2/3 innings, both season highs.
He shut out the Angels though five innings, then seemingly hit a wall in the sixth, when Los Angeles scored twice off him and might have had more if not for some hard-hit balls hit right at people.
Gibson (2-4), who gave up six hits, walked two and struck out six, reminded Twins manager Paul Molitor of the pitcher he believes Gibson can be.
"That's what we think he can be, it's not like he hasn't done it at times," Molitor said. "He's just gotten away from some of those things. We all know he's thinker on the mound, sometimes to a fault.
"Just using the two-seamer, four-seamer when he needs a strike. I think he got some nice chases on his off-speed pitches. But yeah, he got into a really good groove from the first to the fifth."
For Ramirez (5-4), his 4 1/3 innings was his shortest stint since he joined the rotation on April 14 in place of injured Garrett Richards. He had pitched into the seventh inning in four consecutive starts before Friday, when he gave up seven runs and eight hits.
"JC didn't look like he had his edge early," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He was missing some counts, missing getting his breaking stuff into the game early. Got into some bad counts and those guys hit some balls hard early and gave up those three home runs. He just wasn't able to get into his game where he's going after guys and putting them away."
The Angels scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth, two coming in on Danny Espinosa's home run.
It was far too little, too late for the Angels, who couldn't figure out Gibson. Their biggest threat against him came in the first when Andrelton Simmons and Kole Calhoun led off the inning with back-to-back hits. But Simmons was thrown out trying to go first to third on Calhoun's blooper to left, thwarting a potential rally.
From there, Gibson settled in.
"I worked hard since this last start, just about being more in the zone," Gibson said. "And when I miss, miss down and over the plate and not miss a lot off the plate. That's been my trouble this year. When I miss to a righty, I miss down and away and it's just not a pitch anybody's going to swing at.
"This is a team (Angels), they still have a lot of good hitters even with Trout not in there. I was trying to fill up the zone and get 'em to a point where they being aggressive."
NOTES: Twins 1B Joe Mauer's first-inning home run only continued his career-long offensive dominance against the Angels. The homer was his 100th career hit against them and his career average of .346 (103 for 298) is second best among all opposing hitters, trailing Houston's Jose Altuve (.361). ... Angels RHP Bud Norris is dealing with a sore right knee that is causing manager Mike Scioscia to be careful with him. Norris had to leave the game May 26 after three pitches when his knee began to hurt. ... The Angels signed OF Michael Bourn and assigned him to Triple-A Salt Lake. Bourn will help give the Angels outfield depth with both CF Mike Trout and OF Cameron Maybin on the disabled list. ... The triple play turned by the Twins on Thursday was their 12th in club history and their third against the Angels (also 1966 and '83).