By GREG BEACHAM – AP Sports Writer
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels have played three miserable months without getting the kind of turnover they hit over the past week.
The push is probably too late to save the Halos season, but any chance to shine means the whole world for Tucker Davidson and the other Angels is playing for their future.
Davidson pitched six four-hit innings for his first Angels victory, Luis Rengifo had a two-run double and Los Angeles won a straight series for the first time since mid-May with a 4-2 victory over Minnesota. Twins on Sunday.
Shohei Ohtani had an RBI single for the Angels, who won five of six overall. Los Angeles hasn’t played as well for a full week since beginning its free fall from first place in the AL West to what is almost certain to be an eighth straight season without a playoff.
Davidson (2-3) gave up just two points on a strong Big A debut for the Angels, who acquired the southpaw at the trade deadline for Raisel Iglesias closer.
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“He’s got good material and he threw some shots today against a good formation,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said.
Davidson was hit hard last weekend in Seattle in his first start with his new team, but he’s settled in well in Anaheim, throwing a shutout in his last five innings. The win was the second of his major league career after winning his first for the Braves on May 17.
Byron Buxton hit a two-run homer in the first inning for the Twins, who went 1-4 this week in Southern California while falling to an 0-for-18 slump with runners in scoring position. Minnesota lost five of six games overall to fall 2½ games behind Cleveland at the top of the AL Central.
“(The last two losses) felt like games where if we played good baseball and did what we wanted, we had a chance to win,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We just haven’t done much offensively. … It’s not rocket science. We have to score points and there are different ways to do that.
Ohtani reached base three times, scored a run and was caught stealing second base the day before his 20th season start.
Chris Archer (2-6) allowed four hits and three runs in four innings for Minnesota, striking out five. The veteran has gone winless in six appearances since June 25.
“Throwing kept us in those games, gave us a chance, and we have to find a way,” Baldelli said.
Davidson got off to another slow start when Buxton’s 28th home run of the season barely crossed the fence line into right field, but he struck out 12 of his next 13 batters.
Rengifo tied the game with a two-out left drive in the third, scoring Ohtani and David Fletcher. Rengifo is one of the few bright spots in the Angels’ summer slump, getting a hit in 38 of Los Angeles’ last 44 games while showing off his skills as a versatile infielder.
Los Angeles took the lead in the fourth when Jo Adell doubled and scored on Kurt Suzuki’s flyout. Ohtani’s RBI single added an insurance run in the seventh.
Jaime Barría pitched two scoreless relief innings and José Quijada finished for his third save. The Angels have the lowest ERA in the AL over the past three weeks.
Angels: Mike Trout returned to batting practice on Sunday, and he’s expected to face the live pitch soon. The three-time AL MVP hasn’t played since July 12 due to a back injury, but says he wants to return this season.
Twins: Joe Ryan (8-5, 3.95 ERA) brings home the mound on Monday when Minnesota opens a three-game series with Kansas City.
Angels: Ohtani (10-7, 2.68 ERA) looks to increase his career-best win total on Monday when the Mariners visit the Big A for the first time since the teams had a savage brawl here in late June. Ohtani is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 32 strikeouts in four career starts against Seattle.
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