MINNEAPOLIS -- With a lineup filled with mashers at the plate, the Los Angeles Angels used some small ball to snap a brief two-game losing streak Thursday against the Minnesota Twins.
A pinch-hit sacrifice fly by Chris Iannetta with one out in the ninth inning was the difference as the Angels outlasted the Twins 5-4 at Target Field.
The victory pushed the Angels' lead atop the American League West standings to five games over the idle Oakland Athletics.
With the game tied at 4 heading to the ninth, Angels third baseman David Freese doubled into the left-field corner. Tony Campana pinch ran for Freese and John McDonald's pinch-hit sacrifice bunt moved him to third to set up Iannetta's deep fly ball to left field. Twins left fielder Aaron Hicks' throw reached catcher Kurt Suzuki on the fly, but was high and a split second behind Campana's head-first slide.
"I think that's why Tony is here," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "We have some speed we can insert in the lineup and tonight it worked out. We managed to manufacture a run there."
Angels closer Huston Street worked around back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the ninth, getting a flyout from first baseman Joe Mauer for the first out.
After falling behind designated hitter Kennys Vargas 3-1, Street used a pair of change-ups in the dirt to get Vargas swinging before another flyout secured his 25th save of the season, and 12th with Los Angeles.
"Huston trusts his ability to make pitches when he needs to," Scioscia said.
"I had a good feel for my change-up so we struck with it," Street said of the Vargas at-bat. "I was trying to get a ground ball, but I had a good feel for the change up."
Angels righty Joe Smith worked a scoreless eighth inning to get the win and improve to 6-2. Twins closer Glen Perkins allowed the single run in the ninth and dropped to 3-2 with the loss.
After the Twins fumbled attempts to get an early lead, leaving the bases loaded in the second inning and two more runners on in the third, the Angels used two walks to kick-start a four-run fourth inning. Second baseman Howie Kendrick and Freese had RBI doubles and shortstop Erick Aybar singled in a run.
For Freese, the double snapped a personal 0-for-21 stretch at the plate and was his first RBI since Aug. 22.
"We know what David can do," Scioscia said. "Maybe he's not gonna be as electric as he was three years ago in St. Louis, but he's better than he showed last year and he's a better player up to this year. He was looking really comfortable in the box and hit three balls right on the button. That's good to see."
It was the only hiccup of the night for Twins starter Kyle Gibson, who was dominant through his first three innings and final three, going seven innings and allowing the four runs on seven hits and two walks.
"A couple of walks made that inning a lot harder than it should have been," Gibson said. "It's an unfortunate inning, especially with how it turned out, trying to limit the damage there probably changes the outcome of the game."
Angels lefty Hector Santiago blanked the Twins through four before allowing one run in the fifth on back-to-back one-out doubles by center fielder Danny Santana and second baseman Brian Dozier, making it a 4-1 game.
Santiago stumbled in the sixth, allowing a leadoff walk and a single ahead of shortstop Eduardo Nunez, who blasted his fourth homer of the season into the bullpens in left-center to tie the game at 4.
"It was a good ballgame," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "We hung in there pretty good, Nunez with a big hit there to pull us even and we had a chance at the end. They got the big hit, we didn't. Some good things happened, but bottom line is, we lose."
Minnesota missed opportunities to get on the board in the early going, leaving the bases loaded in the second inning and stranding two runners in the third.
A double by second baseman Brian Dozier scored Santana with one out in the fifth inning to pull the Twins within three at 4-1.
NOTES: Twins LHP Tommy Milone, whose next scheduled start was to be Sunday, will be skipped in the rotation because of "dead arm" symptoms. Milone, acquired from the Oakland A's on July 31, is 0-1 with a 7.84 ERA in five starts with Minnesota. He was 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA for the Athletics in 16 starts this season before the trade. ... Twins OF Byron Buxton, a top prospect, no longer has concussion symptoms and is set to go to the Florida instructional league next week. He also is expected to play in the Arizona Fall League. ... Angels LHP Joe Thatcher, out since early August with a sprained left ankle, threw 20 pitches to hitters in the batting cages Thursday. He could return as soon as next week.