MINNEAPOLIS -- The All-Star break may have been just what John Lackey and the Los Angeles Angels needed.
Lackey tied a career high with 10 strikeouts and Jeff DaVanon homered to lead the Angels to a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
The Angels lost four in a row and five of seven heading into the break, but took three of four from the faltering Twins following the three-day breather.
"The break was good," Lackey said. "My arm felt fresh."
Lackey (7-4) scattered five hits in seven innings and allowed just the one unearned run in a dominant performance to win for the first time in four starts. Included in that span was a loss to the Twins on July 4 in which he gave up five runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings.
"He was a different pitcher than when we saw him a week ago," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his 20th save in 22 chances.
The Angels hope the game was a sign of things to come from Lackey, who was 5-1 with a 2.56 ERA in his first 12 starts of the season, but had gone 0-2 with a 7.86 ERA in his three starts prior to Sunday.
While not as overpowering, Twins starter Joe Mays (5-4) was nearly as effective coming off his worst start of the season. He gave up four runs and nine hits in just two innings of a no-decision against Kansas City.
He was much better Sunday, giving up two runs and just two hits in seven innings while striking out a season-high six.
Mays made just one mistake in the second inning, but with Lackey regaining his form, it was one mistake too many.
"I did my job, the defense did their job, but Lackey did his job just a little better," Mays said. "We're just not getting that big hit when we need it right now. That's the bottom line."
It was nothing new for the Twins, who lost for the seventh time in the last 10 games. All six of Minnesota's losses to the Angels this season have come by one run.
"It seems like every game we play, it's one hit that decides the game," DaVanon said. "Fortunately, we got that hit today."
Just as in Saturday night's loss, the Angels jumped out to an early lead.
Mays retired his first five hitters, but walked Maicer Izturis before giving up a two-run homer to DaVanon.
Mays said the flat changeup he dealt DaVanon wasn't as much of a mistake as walking Izturis after getting ahead of him in the count.
The Twins got one back in the bottom half of the inning. Jacque Jones led off with a double and advanced to third when Lackey's pickoff attempt went into center field. Jones scored on a groundout to second by Mike Redmond.
The Twins used discipline at the plate to wear down Angels starter Bartolo Colon in a 5-4 victory on Saturday night, but they had no answer for Lackey, who is second in the American League to Johan Santana in strikeouts per nine innings.
The veteran kept the Twins off balance with an array of offspeed pitches to complement a fastball in the low 90s.
"We just can't seem to find the hole," said cleanup hitter Justin Morneau, who is hitless in his last 14 at-bats after striking out three times Sunday. "We had a couple of opportunities where if we single through the hole, it's a tie game."
The Twins had the potential tying run on second base in the fifth and seventh innings, but couldn't come up with the big hit when they needed it, a recurring theme this season.
Normally reliable Shannon Stewart grounded out to shortstop with Bret Boone on second in the fifth and Nick Punto flied out to left with Juan Castro at second in the seventh.
"It's tough with how well Mays pitched," Morneau said. "He deserved to win this game."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia gave SS Orlando Cabrera the day off. Cabrera had three hits in his return from the DL on Saturday. ... Vladimir Guerrero singled in the ninth to snap an 0-for-15 slump. He has just six hits in his last 40 at-bats. ... Redmond had a tough day behind the plate. He was nicked by a foul ball in the second, then took a Mays pitch off the ear after it bounced in front of home plate. ... Next up for the Twins is an important three-game home series with the Orioles, which starts Monday.