BALTIMORE – On a day when the teams combined to hit 17 home runs, it would be hard for a pitcher to get too angry about giving up any specific one. But Martin Perez was actually delighted about one he allowed on Saturday.
Staked to a 13-2 lead at the time, the Twins lefthander threw a 93-mph fastball up and inside in the sixth inning, then watched it disappear three rows deep over the left field fence. “I saw the ball and thought, ‘Oh, my God,’ ” Perez said.
That’s because the batter was Hanser Alberto, a 26-year-old infielder who, despite playing more than 100 career games for the Rangers and Orioles, had never hit a home run. Now he has one — and it came off one of his closest friends.
“Three hundred at-bats and he got his first career homer. I’m happy for him because he’s one of my best friends,” Perez said, though the homer actually came in career at-bat No. 227 for Alberto. “He was with Texas for a lot of years. We play in the big leagues together, so he’s one of my guys.”
Will he hear about his friend’s big moment? Inevitably, Perez said. “I mean, I’m not getting mad,” he said. “I’m happy for him.”
Where’s the rain?
The heavy rain in the forecast for Friday evening never materialized, and the teams could have played.
But Baldelli said he had no problem with the decision, announced amid an afternoon downpour around 3:30 p.m., to postpone the game by a day, even though it meant playing two games Saturday.
“At some point, you have to make a call,” he said. “It probably would have been easier on a lot of our players if we were able to play, but we weren’t. And our guys, they’ll figure it out and take care of business.”
Relievers on the mend
A pair of Twins relievers reached milestones Friday in their quest to return from injury.
Gabriel Moya faced hitters for the first time since his lone spring training appearance on Feb. 23, pitching one inning in Biloxi, Miss., for Class AA Pensacola. Moya, bothered by stiffness in his left shoulder, allowed two hits but struck out the final two hitters he faced, stranding two runners in scoring position.
Matt Magill, meanwhile, pitched in back-to-back games for the first time since beginning his rehab stint last week with Class AAA Rochester. Magill retired all three Lehigh Valley hitters he faced, striking out one. The righthander, also bothered by shoulder stiffness, has not allowed a run in three innings with the Red Wings.
• Jonathan Schoop was greeted with a warm ovation as he came to the plate in the second inning, and he responded by tipping his cap to Orioles fans. Schoop, who broke into the majors with Baltimore in 2013, was also the subject of a tribute video that played on the scoreboard just before the inning started.
• Outfielder Max Kepler was not in the starting lineup for either game Saturday, and relief pitcher Blake Parker was not used in a save situation in Game 1. Both players are battling illness, Baldelli said, though both might have been available if needed.