Dan Gladden played in the big leagues for 11 seasons. He was asked before Tuesday night's game at Target Field if he could recall a players-only meeting that had a positive effect on a team.

"I was never in a players-only meeting," Gladden said. "I was in a lot of meetings where the manager would say his piece and then ask, 'Does anybody have anything they want to say?' "

Gladden paused, then said: "Wait. I did have one players-only meeting. There were two of us: me and Steve Lombardozzi. He came over to my house."

This was a reference to the notorious dispute between Twins teammates Gladden and Lombardozzi that turned to fisticuffs in July 1988.

There were no reports of such a disturbance from 3:50 to 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday in the home clubhouse, as the Twins called a players-only meeting to discuss the events of the recent road trip, where they went from being overmatched in Toronto to being an insult to competitive athletics in Cleveland.

As desperation goes, players-only meetings rate slightly above the manager putting nine names in his cap and drawing out a lineup or tipping over the postgame food spread in the middle of the clubhouse.

That last one — a favorite of my managerial hero, Gene Mauch — is hardly an option these days, since the food is now kept in more sanitary conditions in a back room of most clubhouses.

Legend has it, one day in Montreal, Mauch dumped an urn of soup (hopefully, vichyssoise) over the head of pitcher Mike Torrez after a tough defeat for the Expos.

One complication on Tuesday was Kyle Gibson was not informed of the meeting, so he showed up at the usual time for a starting pitcher — roughly three hours before the game. The meeting was underway by then.

Gibson had lasted 4 ⅔ innings and given up eight runs in his previous start in Toronto. That was the beginning of a trip through the rotation, five starts, when a Twins starter did not make it through five innings.

That changed with Gibson on Tuesday. It took him 106 pitches, but he went six innings and allowed only a two-run home run to Elvis Andrus.

Unfortunately, that only took care of half the Twins' recent combination of pathetic pitching and lousy hitting.

Mollie's Maulers had scored one run five times in the previous 10 games before being summoned to the players meeting on Tuesday. They took the traditional vow of resolve, presumably, and then charged forth to score zero heading into the eighth.

The Rangers stuck with lefthander Jake Diekman after a couple of rockets from Brian Dozier: one foul in the left-field corner, the other caught deep in center by Delino DeShields.

That wasn't enough to save Diekman. Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano delivered back-to-back RBI doubles and the Twins had a 2-2 tie.

Had the pre-All-Star, Target Field mystique returned? Would Torii Hunter and other veterans be able to talk about the lift received from the players-only meeting? Would the smoke machine come out of storage and the reeling Twins dance again?


Thanks to one lovely ricochet in the bottom of the ninth.

Glen Perkins entered to preserve the tie in the ninth and did so with what seemed to be his best stuff in a while. Spencer Patton completed the eighth for Texas and stayed on for the ninth.

Two outs followed, leaving the Twins with Kurt Suzuki and then Eduardo Escobar. These two are the best of pals, and both have been feeble at the plate this season, even way back when the Twins were going 20-7 in May.

Patton walked Suzuki for some unknown reason, and then Escobar hooked a little liner inside the right-field line. Shin-Soo Choo had to get there to keep the ball from going into the corner and prevent Suzuki from scoring.


The ball hit the Fenway-style angle of the grandstand and boomeranged into shallow right. This meant Suzuki was going to score. This meant the Twins were going to win. This meant a triumph, no matter how temporarily, for the desperate act of a players-only meeting.

I guess it beats pulling a lineup out of a hat or dumping an urn of soup over the head of a pitcher.

Patrick Reusse can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on AM-1500.