Herrmann’s 10th Inning Grand Slam Powers Twins Over Angels
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Chris Herrmann was shagging balls in right field during batting practice when he noticed manager Ron Gardenhire waving to get his attention. He suddenly sprinted off the field and was told that he, instead of Joe Mauer, was going to catch Kyle Gibson.
Fate has a way of making special things happen, and Tuesday night was a perfect example. Herrmann filled in for the expectant father, coaxing Gibson through a tough fourth inning and then hitting his first career grand slam in a seven-run 10th to help send the Minnesota Twins past the Los Angeles Angels 10-3.
“Gardy posted the lineup right before batting practice, but my mentality isn’t any different. I’m always ready to play,” Herrmann said. “I want to help out the team and I want us to win, and I was fortunate to help out tonight.”
Mauer was scratched just before game time and left the team to be with his wife, Maddie, who went into labor with twins — naturally. As a result, Herrmann made his seventh start behind the plate in the majors and fourth this season.
“He did a good job,” Gardenhire said. “He was in the catchers’ meeting, which he would have been in anyway. The good thing was that he’s caught Gibby in the minor leagues, so he knew the kid.”
Ryan Doumit snapped a 3-all tie in the 10th with an RBI double against Angels closer Ernesto Frieri (0-2). Herrmann followed a one-out intentional walk to Clete Thomas with his second big league homer and Minnesota’s first grand slam since Mauer’s shot off Kansas City’s Luke Hochevar last Sept. 1.
“I was just trying to elevate the ball somewhere. He came with an inside cutter and I got all of it and hit it a long ways,” Herrmann said. “It’s just hard to believe this is happening. It’s pretty awesome. I’m just going to cherish this moment right now. It couldn’t have happened in a better way, honestly — hitting my first grand slam in professional ball when I wasn’t even expecting to play.”
Twins No. 9 batter Pedro Florimon capped the rally with his sixth homer, a two-run shot against Billy Buckner. Florimon also had an RBI groundout in the seventh.
Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo homered for Los Angeles.
Casey Fien retired Howie Kendrick on an inning-ending double play in the eighth with two on. But All-Star closer Glen Perkins (2-0) allowed the tying run in the ninth on a bases-loaded walk to Erick Aybar before retiring J.B. Shuck on an inning-ending double play — the Angels’ major league-worst 99th.
The blown save was the left-hander’s third in 27 chances and it snapped his scoreless streak at 19 2-3 innings.
“Perk had a little bit of a rough time. Walking the leadoff guy will always get you in trouble,” Gardenhire said. “But he was still pumping it 96 mph, and we turned a big double play there to get us out of it with just a tie. Then the boys came out swinging.”
Justin Morneau singled with one out in the Twins eighth against Kevin Jepsen, and Doumit followed with an RBI double to right-center to snap a 2-all tie. All 11 runs Jepsen has allowed this season have come at home.
Gibson allowed two runs and five hits through six innings. He struck out four. The right-hander, who did not allow a home run in 22 1-3 innings over his four previous big league starts, gave up two in the fourth before Herrmann got him back on track.
“Me and Gibby, we’ve worked together quite a bit this year and in previous years, so we’re on the same page for the most part,” Herrmann said. “I know what he wants to throw. So he feels comfortable pitching to me and I feel really comfortable catching him.”
Pujols’ homer was his 17th of the season and 492nd of his career, a towering drive to center field that rookie Aaron Hicks just missed on a leaping attempt before losing his glove on the other side of the fence.
Two outs later, Trumbo hit his team-high 22nd to right field. It was the 10th time in their two seasons as teammates that Pujols and Trumbo homered in the same game. The Angels are 7-3 on those occasions, with all three losses coming in extra innings.
“Both times I got myself behind in the count,” Gibson said. “I threw seven out of 23 first-pitch strikes, which is pretty bad. I still need to work ahead in the count, which is something I’m working on. But it felt good to be able to settle down after two big hits like that. I just tried to limit the damage and give the team a chance to win.”
Los Angeles starter Tommy Hanson threw 76 pitches over 5 1-3 innings in his first start off the disabled list, allowing a run and four hits with eight strikeouts and no walks. The right-hander had been sidelined since June 21 because of a forearm strain.
Scott Downs, who hasn’t given up an earned run in 32 career innings against the Twins spanning 31 appearances, completed the sixth after walking his first batter. The left-hander hasn’t been scored on in his last 29 appearances overall, one shy of Francisco Rodriguez’s franchise record.
Dane De La Rosa couldn’t hold the lead, however, giving up the tying run in the seventh on Florimon’s groundout after Thomas and Herrmann opened the inning with singles and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Hicks.
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