By: Sam Ekstrom | KFAN.com
Who knew Joe Mauer’s absence could turn out so favorably for the Twins?
With his wife going into labor back in the Twin Cities, Mauer left the team prior to Tuesday’s game, opening the door for recent call-up Chris Herrmann to get a rare start. The back-up catcher went 3-for-5 and hit a grand slam in the tenth inning to vault the Twins to a 10-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
Herrmann’s slam off Ernesto Frieri (0-2) was sandwiched between a Ryan Doumit RBI double that broke a 3-3 tie and a Pedro Florimon two-run home run that capped the scoring.
Said manager Ron Gardenhire, “The boys, I’m really happy for them. They’re really playing. They’re rooting for each other in the dugout, and they’re getting after the game pretty hard right now.”
The Twins’ seven runs in the top of the tenth inning came after closer Glen Perkins (2-0) blew his third save of the year.
Perkins was pitching on back-to-back nights after throwing 26 pitches on Monday. The lefty – working with a one-run lead – walked three Angels in the ninth-inning, including a free pass to Erick Aybar that forced in the tying run.
It was the first run allowed by Perkins since May 28, breaking a 19-game scoreless-outing streak.
Los Angeles could have ended the game with one good bases-loaded swing, but J.B. Shuck hit into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
The Twins held a one-run lead heading into the ninth after scoring a run apiece in the seventh and eighth innings. Pedro Florimon tied the game at 2-2 with an RBI groundout in the seventh, and Ryan Doumit gave the Twins the lead in the eighth with his first of two RBI doubles. On the play, Justin Morneau appeared to be dead meat at the plate, but impressively dodged the tag of catcher Hank Conger.
Neither team did much damage against the game’s starting pitchers Kyle Gibson and Tommy Hanson, who were nothing more than afterthoughts by the time the three hour, 38 minute game concluded.
Gibson allowed two fourth-inning solo home runs to Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo, but nothing more. He left after striking out four in six solid innings.
“Our kid threw the ball really well,” said Gardenhire. “We thought he threw great. Good sinker. In the one inning, he gave up a couple home runs, but he was still attacking the strike zone, so we were happy with that.”
Hanson pitched for the first time since June 20 and struck out eight batters in just five and a third innings while allowing one run. He exited after throwing just 76 pitches because of a strict pitch count to monitor his injured right forearm.
Minnesota goes for the sweep Wednesday at 2:35 p.m.