Angels hit three HRs for Lackey in 6-3 win
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- John Lackey shrugged off a pair of solo homers by AL batting leader Joe Mauer to win his third straight start, and Robb Quinlan, Jeff Mathis and Mike Napoli each homered in the Los Angeles Angels' seventh straight victory, 6-3 over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.
The Angels equaled their longest winning streak of the season with their 11th victory in their last 12 overall, and are a season-best 19 games over .500. They have gone 27-9 since June 12, turning a 4½-game deficit in the standings into a 3½-game lead. Lackey is 5-2 with a 3.24 ERA in eight starts during that stretch.
Lackey (6-4) allowed two runs and four hits over 7 2-3 innings and struck out three. The right-hander also made three putouts at first base, one of them at the end of a 3-6-1 double play.
Minnesota lost its fifth in six games and dropped under .500 for the first time since June 24.
Lackey held Minnesota to three hits over the first six innings, including Mauer's homers in the fourth and sixth innings. It was Mauer's third multihomer game in the majors and his first since June 24, 2007, against Florida's Byung-Hyun Kim.
Mauer, vying for his third league batting title in four seasons, was 2 for 4 and is hitting .365 with 17 homers and 53 RBIs. He has nine hits in 20 career at-bats against Lackey, but had never homered against him before Friday.
Mauer came up in the eighth with a man at first and two outs, but manager Mike Scioscia pulled Lackey after 114 pitches and brought in Kevin Jepsen, who retired Mauer on a groundout before giving up an RBI single to Brian Buscher in the ninth.
All three Angels homers came off Francisco Liriano (4-10), who was charged with six runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings.
It was the second time in 54 big league starts that Liriano surrendered three home runs. He also did it on July 13, 2006, against Cleveland.
Quinlan drove a 2-2 pitch just over the fence in left-center and beyond the leaping attempt of center fielder Denard Span for a 2-0 lead, after Howie Kendrick led off the second inning with a double and advanced on Liriano's balk.
The homer was the second this season for Quinlan, a seven-year veteran who came in with a career average of .302 against left-handed pitching. He also homered Tuesday night against Royals lefty Bruce Chen. Quinlan has 25 homers in 1,041 career at-bats, 19 of them off southpaws.
Mathis, the Angels' No. 9 hitter gave them a 3-1 lead in the fifth with his fourth homer. Erick Aybar and Bobby Abreu opened the sixth with singles and Napoli followed with his 14th homer into the right field seats.