ANAHEIM, CALIF. – It began as your normal Major League Baseball game. Kyle Gibson was in the middle of this rookie baptism. Tommy Hanson was coming off the disabled list. Then things stopped making sense.
Like Twins closer Glen Perkins blowing a save and ending a run of 19⅓ scoreless innings.
Like Angels closer Ernesto Frieri not just flopping, but flopping fantastically.
Like Clete Thomas being intentionally walked to pitch to Chris Herrmann. Then Herrmann fouling up that strategy — with a grand slam!
Another reminder that anything can happen when you go to the ballpark. Angels fans were handed Rally Monkey dolls, then when watched the Twins score seven runs in the 10th to rocket to a 10-3 victory on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium.
“I’m really happy the way the guys are playing right now,” manager Ron Gardenhire said after the Twins improved to 4-1 since the All-Star break. “They’re really getting after it. They’re rooting for each other in the dugout. They are playing the game pretty hard right now.”
Perkins came on in the ninth with the Twins leading 3-2 and looking for his 25th save but walked three batters, with the third one — issued to the unwalkable Erick Aybar — forcing in the tying run.
Perkins entered the game with a 1.66 ERA and 24 saves in 26 chances. Over his previous 19 appearances he had walked one without giving up an earned run. He was coming off a four-out save on Monday and pronounced himself ready to pitch Tuesday.
Perkins escaped the ninth with a double-play grounder. "A big defensive play at the end to get us out of there with a tie," Gardenhire said.
"... Our defense has been outstanding. Guys have been making plays all over the field. That's really fun to watch."
Los Angeles sent in Frieri, his 2.76 ERA and 24 saves to the mound for the 10th. Boy, did the Twins get after him.
Jamey Carroll and Justin Morneau reached with singles, then Ryan Doumit smoked a double to left-center, scoring Carroll with the lead run.
After a pop-up by Trevor Plouffe, Thomas came up, but with Herrmann on deck the Angels elected to go after the rookie. Made sense — for a minute.
Hermann sent a 2-1 slider into the seats in left for the Twins’ first grand slam of the season and an 8-3 lead. While the announced crowd of 39,177 came to grips with what happened, Pedro Florimon socked a two-run shot to right to make it 10-3. Josh Roenicke gave up a hit in the 10th but got through it to wrap up the game.
And Joe Mauer was nowhere near this one. He was taking batting practice about an hour before the game when he was told that his wife, Maddie, was in the early stages of labor with twins. The All-Star catcher fled the scene for the Twin Cities, leading the Twins to face the Angels without their best hitter.
Herrmann replaced Mauer behind the plate. Man, did he ever.
The Mauers, who were wed in December, weren’t expecting their twins to be born until late August. Mauer immediately left the team and will be gone indefinitely.
Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia or catcher Drew Butera are candidates to replace Mauer on the roster. Arcia was pulled from Class AAA Rochester’s game in the second inning Tuesday. Butera hasn’t played for the Twins this year after spending time with them each of the past three seasons.
Mauer’s absence was a relief for the Angels. He is 11-for-14 against them this season, including three hits Monday.