MINNEAPOLIS -- After losing Andrelton Simmons and Shohei Ohtani to injuries this week, the Angels knew they'd have to look to other sources to plug the glaring holes in their lineup. On Friday night, they got that much-needed production from Ian Kinsler, who blasted a go-ahead home run in the
MINNEAPOLIS -- After losing Andrelton Simmons and Shohei Ohtani to injuries this week, the Angels knew they'd have to look to other sources to plug the glaring holes in their lineup. On Friday night, they got that much-needed production from Ian Kinsler, who blasted a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning to lift the Angels to a 4-2 series-opening win over the Twins at Target Field.
"You can't replace those guys, but at the same time, the games don't stop," Kinsler said. "We've got to play the games. We've got to pitch well, we've got to continue to swing the bats. Close ballgames build character, so anytime you can win those ballgames, it's big."
• Ohtani has UCL sprain, placed on DL
Robbie Grossman homered off Garrett Richards to put the Twins ahead, 2-1, in the sixth, but the Angels regained the lead on Kinsler's two-run shot off Thomas Pressly. After Martin Maldonado lined a one-out double to left field, Kinsler hammered a hanging curveball to left field for his seventh home run of the season. Five of those home runs have come in the last 10 games.
It's an encouraging sign for Kinsler, who is batting .366 over that stretch after hitting just .178 through his first 39 games of the season.
"Sometimes something clicks and you're able to find something that you can work on every day and work off of," Kinsler said.
Justin Upton added an insurance run with his 15th home run of the season, a solo shot off Addison Reed in the eighth, and Richard Parker worked a scoreless ninth to extend the Angels' winning streak to five games.
Richards allowed two runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings in the 105-pitch effort. Richards, who walked three and struck out seven, has a 2.09 ERA over his last seven starts.
"Garrett had good stuff," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He got a little tired in the end. The one slider was just a little horizontal to Grossman that he hit out in the sixth inning. But he pitched well."
The Angels got on the board in the second inning after Zack Cozart, Jose Miguel Fernandez and Maldonado strung together consecutive singles off Twins right-hander Lance Lynn. Cozart produced a one-out base hit before advancing to third on Fernandez's first MLB hit, a single to right-center field. Maldonado shot a first-pitch fastball up the middle to score Cozart, giving the Angels a 1-0 lead.
Chris Young popped out for the second out, but the Angels had a chance to expand their lead after Kinsler reached on an infield single to load the bases for Michael Trout. Trout worked a full count before striking out swinging on a 95 mph fastball from Lynn to end the inning.
The Twins came back to tie the game in the bottom half of the inning after Max Kepler singled and scored on Miguel Sano's RBI double to left field. Sano bounced a chopper to third base, but the ball took a bad hop and got past Luis Valbuena, allowing Kepler to score from first.
"It bounced once and then that second hop, it seemed like it went a different direction or got a little bit higher," Richards said. "It hit something. That was a tough hop for Louie. Unfortunately, it just happened to be enough to where it didn't go too far into the outfield, and he was able to score. It's baseball. It's going to happen."
Richards and Lynn traded zeros over the next three innings to keep the game deadlocked. The Twins threatened in the third after Eduardo Escobar delivered a two-out triple to center field, but Richards struck out Logan Morrison looking on a nasty curveball to end the inning. Richards' curveball had a spin rate of 3,550 rpm, making it the highest-spin curveball strikeout Statcast™ has ever recorded.
The only other blemish for Richards was misplacing a 2-2 slider to Grossman, who launched it 422 feet to right field to briefly give the Twins a 2-1 lead in the sixth. Richards then walked Kepler on four pitches, prompting Scioscia to turn the game over to his bullpen.
Noe Ramirez, Jose Alvarez and Parker combined to pitch 3 2/3 scoreless innings to lock down the win.
"When those guys come in after us, we have full confidence in them to come in and shut the door and get the job done," Richards said. "Tonight was a great game. They picked me up, and the offense picked me up. Hopefully this is some good momentum moving forward."
Left-hander Tyler Skaggs (4-4, 3.27 ERA) will oppose right-hander Kyle Gibson (1-3, 3.54 ERA) on Saturday afternoon as the Angels and Twins continue their three-game series at 11:10 a.m. PT at Target Field. Skaggs faced the Twins on May 11 in Anaheim and allowed two runs over six innings in a no-decision. He has allowed two or fewer runs in nine of his 12 starts this season.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.