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Shoemaker aims for 15th win as Angels battle Twins

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are starting to run away with the American League West.

Rookie Matt Shoemaker is a big reason why and on Friday he goes after his sixth straight win when the Angels continue a four-game set with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

Shoemaker has been rock solid for the Angels this season, going 14-4 with a 3.14 ERA. He comes into Friday's start having tossed 23 1/3 scoreless innings, which is the second longest streak by an Angels rookie behind Bob Lee's 27 in 1964.

He's also put together three straight scoreless outings of at least seven innings, the first for the team since Nolan Ryan in 1976 and '77.

"It's an honor to be mentioned by that name," Shoemaker said.

Shoemaker earned AL Pitcher and Rookie of the Month honors for his superb August, when he went 6-1 with a 1.31 ERA, 0.774 WHIP and .178 batting average against.

"Going into the season, I just had high expectations, and you just want to keep doing that all the way to the World Series," Shoemaker said. "That's the ultimate goal."

Los Angeles moved five games in front of the idle Oakland Athletics in the division on Thursday, as Chris Iannetta drove in the winning run in the ninth inning to lift the Angels past Minnesota, 5-4. Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar and David Freese all had an RBI for the Angels, who snapped a two-game slide.

"We hung in there pretty good," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "We had a chance there at the end. They ended up getting the big hit."

Hector Santiago gave up four runs on eight hits over five innings in the start for Anaheim. Joe Smith (6-2) pitched a clean eighth to earn the win.

"I put up some zeros and then they go out and score four runs," said Santiago. "It was tough, like they hit a little dribbler or a little jammed shot that found holes."

Eduardo Nunez slammed a three-run home run and Brian Dozier drove in a run for the Twins, who have lost five of seven.

Getting the call for Minnesota on Friday will be righty Ricky Nolasco, who had another awful showing his last time out. Nolasco lost his fourth straight decision on Sunday in Baltimore, as he was rocked for eight runs in five innings to fall to 5-10 on the year to go along with a 5.96 ERA.

He had tossed seven scoreless innings his previous time out.

"I thought I was able to turn a corner and was starting to feel pretty decent getting ahead of guys, but the main thing is, I wasn't able to put anyone away," said Nolasco, whose ERA hasn't been below 5.49 all season. "I don't know how many times I had guys down in the count and they came back to make it even."

The Angels swept a three-game set from the Twins earlier in the season.

09/05 10:48:46 ET