DENVER – A few hours before the penultimate game of the regular season Saturday, Rocco Baldelli approached Kyle Farmer and Jorge Polanco with a simple question.
Did they want to serve as unofficial co-managers for a game?
Farmer and Polanco stood next to the coaching staff in the dugout, explained lineup changes to the umpiring crew and watched their offense erupt with four homers and three doubles against the Rockies in a lopsided 14-6 victory at Coors Field.
"It's way more stressful than playing, I'll tell you that right now," Farmer said.
Baldelli had then-Twins infielder Ehire Adrianza serve as manager in the last regular-season game in 2019, and other teams have done it on occasion in recent seasons.
Farmer and Polanco were both out of Saturday's lineup at Colorado, and Baldelli thought the two veteran players would appreciate the experience.
"It's even harder to manage a game when you're up 10 runs than you are if you are down," Farmer said. "We have the playoffs coming up. We were walking through the scenarios of resting a pitcher, when not to pitch him, who is not playing tomorrow. A lot goes into it that you don't realize watching the game."
The co-managers didn't write the lineup, but they won't mind taking credit for it. After a two-run second inning, which included an RBI double to the left field wall by Matt Wallner, Trevor Larnach blew the game open with a grand slam in the third inning.
The Twins loaded the bases for Larnach through Alex Kirilloff's double that bounced over the outfield wall, a hit batter and Wallner drawing a two-out walk. Larnach saw a slider on the fifth pitch of his at-bat against Rockies righty Karl Kauffmann, and he lifted the ball over the tall right field fence.
It was the eighth grand slam by a Twins batter this season, tying the 1961 Twins for the most in a single season in team history.
Max Kepler added a three-run homer in the sixth inning, his team-leading 24th home run of the season, while Wallner hit a solo homer to lead off the seventh and Edouard Julien launched a 452-foot homer to dead center for a two-run homer later in the inning.
Twins pitchers, in a bullpen game, carried a shutout into the seventh inning. Caleb Thielbar and Dallas Keuchel combined to give up three homers. Chris Paddack, in his second outing of the season, struck out four batters over three scoreless innings.
Before the blowout, Farmer and Polanco joked about the possibility of one of them receiving an ejection — "Rocco puts on a good show, but you should see the show I put on," Farmer said — and the idea of inserting the other co-manager into the game.
"If a lefty comes in, I'm putting you in," Polanco said to Farmer, laughing.
Carlos Correa lobbied Baldelli for an opportunity to serve as manager for a game, but he remained at Target Field this weekend to participate in simulated games. Baldelli texted Correa a picture of Farmer and Polanco fielding questions from the manager's desk.
Pagán starts after save
Less than 24 hours after Emilio Pagán recorded the final three outs for his first save of the season Friday, he made his first career start Saturday to open the bullpen game.
Pagán, who threw a 1-2-3 inning, became the first Twins pitcher to start a game immediately after finishing the previous game since Kyle Lohse on Oct. 3, 2004. Lohse pitched the final inning of a suspended game at the Metrodome, then started the next game following a 20-minute break.
The last MLB pitcher to earn a save and start the next game was Tampa Bay's John Curtiss from Sept. 25 to 26, 2020.