MINNEAPOLIS (AP) David Freese was mired in an 0-for-21 slump and looking nothing like the sensation that helped his hometown St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series in 2011. Truthfully, he hasn't looked like that player for some time.
On Thursday night against Minnesota, Freese showed a glimmer of that rising star, which is why Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia keeps running him out there day after day.
Freese had two doubles and an RBI and pinch-hitter Chris Iannetta's sacrifice fly in the ninth inning lifted the Angels to a 5-4 victory over the Twins.
''We know what David can do,'' Scioscia said. ''Maybe he's not going to be as electric as he was three years ago in St. Louis, but he's a better player than he showed last year with his numbers and he's a better player (than what he's shown) up to this point this year.''
Freese's second double was a rocket into the left field corner off of All-Star closer Glen Perkins to lead off the ninth inning. John McDonald bunted pinch-runner Tony Campana over and Iannetta lifted a fly ball to left to get him in, helping the Angels bounce back from a two-game sweep in Houston.
''He's a better player, especially in the box, than he's shown with us,'' Scioscia said of Freese, who came to the Angels in a trade last November.
Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar each had two hits and an RBI and Huston Street earned his 36th save in 38 chances to give the Angels a five-game lead in the AL West over Oakland.
Eduardo Nunez hit a three-run homer and Kyle Gibson shrugged off a poor fourth inning to go seven for the Twins.
The Angels put four on the board in the fourth inning, aided by a fielding mishap from the Twins on a double by Kendrick. Left fielder Jordan Schafer fielded the ball off the wall and threw it to second base, but no one was there to catch it. That allowed a run to score and the Angels tacked on a couple more to make it 4-0.
''I think we all anticipated throwing the ball home, at least they did in the field, and we got ourselves in a jam because of it,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Hector Santiago gave up four runs on eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts in five innings for Los Angeles. Joe Smith (6-2) pitched one inning for the win, and Street nailed down his 12th save since arriving from San Diego in a trade.
Gibson gave up four runs and seven hits.
Angels: OF Josh Hamilton was pulled from the game in the eighth inning because of a sore AC joint in his right shoulder. He had a cortisone shot after the game and said he would not play on Friday night. Hamilton said he had the same issue in his left shoulder earlier in the season and considered himself day-to-day.
LHP Joe Thatcher threw to hitters briefly in the Target Field batting cages as he continues to work his way back from a sprained left ankle.
Twins: LHP Tommy Milone will skip his next scheduled start because of what the team is calling a tired arm. Milone has had a difficult time since joining the Twins' rotation, going 0-1 with a 7.84 ERA in five starts. LHP Logan Darnell will likely get the nod in Milone's place.
The Angels send RHP Matt Shoemaker (14-4, 3.14 ERA) to the mound Friday night against struggling Twins RHP Ricky Nolasco (5-10, 5.96). Shoemaker has thrown 23 1-3 consecutive scoreless innings, the second longest streak by an Angels rookie behind Bob Lee's 27 straight in 1964. Shoemaker was chosen AL pitcher and rookie of the month for August.
Nolasco was tagged for eight runs in five innings against Baltimore in his most recent start and hasn't won since July 1.
ALL ARMS ON DECK
Scioscia said reliever Cory Rasmus would again start on Saturday in Garrett Richards' spot in the rotation. Rasmus got the call last time Richards' spot came around and he pitched the first three innings of a victory over Oakland. Last time Rasmus threw 49 pitches, and Scioscia indicated he would likely be held to a similar pitch count on Saturday.