ANAHEIM -- With his .308 career batting average, Twins first baseman Joe Mauer has strong numbers against a lot of teams, but the Angels are one club he's particularly tormented throughout his career.It was again the case Friday night, as Mauer stayed hot, going 4-for-5 with a homer and three
ANAHEIM -- With his .308 career batting average, Twins first baseman Joe Mauer has strong numbers against a lot of teams, but the Angels are one club he's particularly tormented throughout his career.
It was again the case Friday night, as Mauer stayed hot, going 4-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs to lead the Twins to an 11-5 win over the Angels at Angel Stadium. It helped Mauer improve his career average to .349 with 10 homers and 53 RBIs in 80 games against Los Angeles. It's his second-highest average against an American League team, trailing his .364 career mark against the Rays.
"It was one of those nights where I got some good pitches to hit and I didn't miss them," Mauer said. "The night before, I had a couple good pitches I missed. So it was good to come back today and get 'em."
He also improved to a career .366 hitter at Angel Stadium with five homers and 25 RBIs in 39 games, which is his second-highest average against an AL club behind his .392 mark at Tropicana Field. It also marked his 27th four-hit game of his career, which is tied for the eighth-most among active players.
"This has been a good park for him to hit in," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Even his out was hit to the warning track. He seemed to be on everything. He got a fastball first time, a changeup off [Deolis] Guerra in the hole, a curveball to right-center. He was just on everything."
It's been part of a larger trend for Mauer going back to early May, as he's been on a tear, raising his slash line to .294/.368/.424 on the season. Mauer is hitting .356/.448/.556 since May 1.
"I felt really good early this season, but didn't have a lot to show for it," Mauer said. "But I've feeling good here the last couple weeks. I'm just trying to hold onto that feeling. I felt like early in the season I was hitting a lot of line drives, but I was making a lot of outs. So I'm just trying to do what I do, and hit the ball hard."
Mauer put the Twins up early with his two-run homer off right-hander JC Ramirez, adding singles in the fifth, seventh and eighth, with his final hit bringing home Minnesota's last run of the night.
He said he hasn't actively changed anything during his hot streak, and the fact that he's driving the ball into the air more this season isn't on purpose. His average launch angle has gone from 3.7 degrees last year to 7.4 degrees this year, per Statcast™, causing fewer grounders and more line drives and fly balls.
"Just trying to keep driving the ball," Mauer said. "I couldn't tell you what my launch angle is. I'm more about having good at-bats and a good plan. It's more sticking with my approach."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and listen to his podcast.