Quick night in the clubhouse as the Twins want to get back to the hotel so they can rest for Sunday's series finale against the Angels. And there's a lot on the line, as much as there can be in a May game.

The Twins have a chance to go 8-2 on this road trip.

They have a chance to return to .500, at 18-18, for the first time since April 22.

They can take three of four on the road from the Angels.

And they can stay close to Cleveland in the AL Central. The Indians won on Saturday.

They've arrived at this point with a comeback win on Friday and an extra-inning win on Saturday. And they did it on the road, which is a sign of a good team.

"It's huge," said catcher Mitch Garver, whose RBI double in the 12th was the game-winning hit. "This is a long road trip for us. Three cities is a lot. You get towards the end and guys are tired. They are missing home and want to get back. Pulling out those wins hopefully taking the series tomorrow, that's a huge boost for us heading home for a long homestand. And it's a tough team to pitch against and a tough team to hit against."

One thing from tonight's game, and then we all can go to bed.

When Mike Trout reached third base in the 11th inning after advancing on Justin Upton's flyout for the second out, Garver went to the mound to speak with reliever Trevor Hildenberger to come up with a strategy against Albert Pujols. But they turned around and saw that Pujols was being intentionally walked. Manager Paul Molitor's plan overrode theirs.

"And then [Andrelton] Simmons comes up and it’s the same thing," Garver said. "We’re kind of going through the same plan and then he’s on first base as well. I look at Hildy and I’m like, 'Hey, here we go. This is the time. This is gut check.' "

Molitor did not want Pujols, who is not as great as he once was but still dangerous, and Simmons, batting .351 entering the game, to beat him. So he walked both to set up a force play at any base.

Also. Hildenberger was pitching for the third consecutive game. Molitor wanted to use the few pitches Hildenberger had against reserve Jefry Marte, who had entered the game in the ninth inning. Molitor bounced the idea off his coaches, then went for it.

"I had a Hall of Famer and a guy who is leading the league in hitting," Molitor said. "And I went for the guy who just came into the game a couple innings ago."

A wild pitch — possible with Hildenberger's funky stuff — and the game is over. A walk, and the game is over. Another hit batter, as Hildenberger did with his very first pitch of the inning to Zack Cozart, and the game is over.

But Hildenberger felt the urgency to throw strikes and got Marte to tap back to him to end the inning.

"Mollie put me in a position where I had to throw strikes and I appreciate that vote of confidence," Hildenberger said. "Challenge a guy and try to have him put it on the ground. That’s why we loaded the bases. Luckily it worked out for us.”
 
Things worked out for the second straight night. What tricks do the Twins have up their sleeves for Sunday's finale? We'll find out in a few hours..... 

Older Post

Twins catcher Castro to see knee specialist

Newer Post

Twins play Angels today, facing big arm in Ohtani