Homers power a return into first place

IAN KINSLER is congratulated after hitting the tie-breaking homer in the Angels’ 7-4 win over the Twins on Thursday (Angels photo).

By Pete Zarustica

This could be fun.

After a 7-4 win over the Minnesota Twins at the Big A on Thursday night, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim again leapfrogged into first place in the American League West, shading the Houston Astros by less than a percentage point.

The Halos are 23-14 and the Astros are 24-15.

On Thursday, the Angel offense stayed toasty, with Shohei Ohtani, Ian Kinsler and Justin Upton each hitting home runs and Andrelton Simmons collecting three hits as the Halos won their seventh game out of nine.

It was Ohtani’s fifth home run of the season and traveled an estimated 414 feet. The two-way star from Japan is now batting .354.

“We know he’s dangerous,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “You have to pitch him carefully and make him aware of the inside part of the plate. Obviously, he’s skilled offensively, and if he gets pitches, he’s going to hit them.”

As has been the case in several of those wins, the Angels built a lead, lost it and finally put the game away. The Orange County team led 4-0 after three innings, but the Twins knotted it up with four in the top of the sixth, knocking starter Garrett Richards out of the game.

But Kinsler broke the tie with a two-run homer and went on for the win.

The Angels will host the Twins (15-18) again on Friday with Tyler Skaggs (3-2) starting for the home team.

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