Major League Baseball
Angels cruise thanks to big inning
Major League Baseball

Angels cruise thanks to big inning

Published Jul. 26, 2009 3:48 a.m. ET

Chone Figgins and Maicer Izturis are normally the table-setters for the Los Angeles Angels. Against the Minnesota Twins, they looked as though they belonged in the middle of the lineup.

Figgins and Izturis both homered during a nine-run outburst in the fourth inning, and the AL West leaders extended their winning streak to a season-high eight games Saturday with an 11-5 victory over the faltering Twins.

"Our ability to set the table and hit with runners in scoring position is there, and it starts with what Figgy does and what Izturis does," manager Mike Scioscia said.

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"Those guys during this offense stretch - it's very apparent that they're doing some key things like driving the ball little bit better. But the situational hitting, especially with runners in scoring position, is every bit as good as any team I've had here."

Matt Palmer (8-1) allowed two runs and four hits in five innings, striking out three and walking three. The Angels have averaged 7.33 runs in the 30-year-old rookie's 12 starts.

Nick Blackburn (8-5) retired his first nine batters before Figgins led off the fourth with his third homer - the first of five consecutive hits and 10 altogether by Los Angeles during its highest-scoring inning of the season.

"He was keeping the ball down and keeping it out of the hitting zone," Figgins said. "But in the fourth, he got the ball up for us. And when we put runners on base, we've got opportunities to put a lot of runs on the board."

The Angels (58-38), who came in leading the majors with a .286 batting average despite the absence of injured outfielders Torii Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero and Juan Rivera, have won 12 of their last 13 and are a season-high 20 games over .500.

Blackburn was charged with six runs and six hits over 3 2-3 innings in his second-shortest outing of 2009. The right-hander has a 1.80 ERA over the first two innings in his 20 starts this season - but a whopping 6.00 ERA the next two innings. The Angels did a good job of making the necessary adjustments.


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