MINNEAPOLIS -- The Los Angeles Angels have come up with a pretty successful formula as of late: fall behind, rally, win.
Friday night wasn't any different for the AL West leaders.This time, Los Angeles, after tying the game in the eighth, scored six runs in the top of the 11th inning and recorded their major league-leading 34th comeback victory, 11-5 over the Minnesota Twins.The Angels, who have come from behind in 13 of their past 18 victories, had six hits and two walks against three Minnesota relievers before making an out in the 11th.As a result, the Angels improved to 12-3 since the All-Star break and they completed July with a 19-7 record, averaging 7.1 runs per game."It shows the amount of heart we have on this team, even with some of our bigger guys out," said Howie Kendrick, whose pinch-hit RBI single started the Angels' scoring in the 11th. "We've got a lot of guys who can play the game and the way we play the game is aggressive and a lot of first-to-third. It seems like it's been a different guy every game to give us that extra opportunity to win the game."Kevin Jepsen (3-2) pitched two innings of perfect relief for the Angels, striking out Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer."I can't say enough about the job he did," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He went through the heart of their lineup."Our bullpen kept us in the game and gave us a chance. They gave us five innings of relief and put up five zeros."When the Angels got to the 11th -- and past Minnesota closer Joe Nathan -- they certainly took advantage.Bobby Keppel (0-1) walked Erick Aybar on four pitches to open the 11th. With Aybar running on the pitch, Gary Matthews Jr. hit a broken-bat single to shallow left field to put runners on first and third."My first four pitches where nowhere near the strike zone ... a leadoff walk like that, you're asking for a bad inning," Keppel said.Kendrick hit a ground ball to shortstop Brendan Harris. Attempting to throw home, Harris stumbled and Aybar was able to score. Harris tried to get Kendrick at first, but he beat the throw for an RBI single."It seemed like when he fielded the ball that he was trying to decide whether to go to home plate or first," Keppel said. "The play took him to his left. After I saw him field it to his left, I just tried to bust it. I saw him spin a little bit. I just was trying to get the run in."Maicer Izturis had a run-scoring single for the Angels, Bobby Abreu drove in two with a single, Kendry Morales added an RBI single and Aybar ended the scoring with an RBI groundout."You walk the leadoff guy in the last inning and stuff starts going haywire," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We probably had the one ball up the middle where we might have turned two, and we try to do something a little spectacular, then all hell broke loose."Scioscia said the Angels simply took advantage of a tight game."We've been on the other side. sometimes when you bring that infield in, it's all or nothing," he said. "There's some holes out there and we just kept rolling the hits in them."Mike Napoli, who had four hits, tied the game 5-5 with a homer in the Angels' eighth, his fifth homer in 10 games. Abreu had a homer among three hits and drove in four.Mauer homered and had three hits for the Twins. Nick Punto and Denard Span had RBIs in the fourth as the Twins took a 5-2 lead.
The Twins didn't make a roster move after the game to make room for SS Orlando Cabrera, who they acquired from Oakland earlier in the day. That's because Cuddyer left the game with tightness in his back. He will be evaluated Saturday and a decision will be made at that point. ... Before the game, Scioscia talked about Los Angeles not adding a pitcher before the non-waiver trading deadline. "[General manager] Tony [Reagins] made some strong pushes and, unfortunately, the other teams wanted some things that would create bigger holes than we were filling." The Angels were reportedly in the mix for Toronto ace Roy Halladay and San Diego reliever Heath Bell. ... Gardenhire offered support to Boston's David Ortiz, who played for Minnesota from 1997-2002. "Papi's a great guy, David's one of the funnest guys in baseball and always a big smile. It's hard, it's hard hearing [the steroid allegations] and you know what, my heart goes out to him. I don't wish it on anybody, but the list is what it is. Like I said, get it out and let's get it over with."