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Herrmann's 10th-inning slam sparks Twins

The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Backup catcher Chris Herrmann was minding his own business, shagging balls during batting practice in right field when he saw Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire waving at him late Tuesday afternoon before the Twins' game against the Los Angeles Angels.

"I sprinted to him, and he said I might be playing tonight because of a situation with Joe (Mauer)," Herrmann said. "I was a little nervous -- I always get a little nervous up here -- but it couldn't have happened in a better way."

What happened was that the wife of Joe Mauer, the Twins' regular catcher, went into labor with twins, and Mauer was scratched from the lineup so he could fly back to Minnesota. Herrmann stepped in, and then he stepped up.

Herrmann's grand slam keyed a seven-run 10th inning that lifted the Twins to a 10-3 victory at Angel Stadium.

Ryan Doumit began the scoring in the decisive 10th with an RBI double before Herrmann unloaded off Angels reliever Ernesto Frieri (0-2). Pedro Florimon added a two-run homer in the inning off Billy Buckner.

It was quite a night for Herrmann, who also had two singles and caught all 10 innings.

"This is an awesome feeling," Herrmann said.

Reliever Glen Perkins (2-0) got the win as the Twins triumphed for the sixth time in seven games. For the Angels, the loss was their third in a row after winning their first two games coming out of the All-Star break.

The Angels missed a golden opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the ninth. Trailing 3-2, they put together a rally against Perkins, who had not allowed a run in his previous 19 appearances. Mark Trumbo, who homered earlier in the game, doubled to key the rally. Erick Aybar's bases-loaded walk tied the game at 3, but J.B. Shuck, who had grounded into only four double plays in 216 at-bats this season, grounded into a double play with the bases loaded to send the game into extra innings.

"The double-play ball got us a couple times," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "(With) runners in scoring position, we were poor tonight, but these guys are grinding it out. We had a little bit of a lead and couldn't hold it and had the game right in front of us in the ninth inning."

Angels starter Tommy Hanson looked good in his return after missing more than a month because of a strained right forearm. Because of his time off, he was on a limited pitch count, and he was finished after 5 1/3 innings and 76 pitches. He matched a season high with eight strikeouts, gave up just four hits and left with a 2-1 lead.

"That's the best stuff I've seen Tommy have, definitely since he's been here and maybe since we saw him pitch with Atlanta," Scioscia said. "His fastball was live, it really looked like he had great command. There's no doubt, this is the stuff we've been waiting to see from Tommy."

The Angels' bullpen, however, could not hold the lead. The Twins tied the game at 2 in the seventh inning off Dane De La Rosa by putting together singles by Clete Thomas and Herrmann, a sacrifice bunt by Aaron Hicks and an RBI groundout by Florimon.

The Twins took the lead against Kevin Jepsen in the eighth on Doumit's RBI double. Justin Morneau scored from first on the play with a nifty slide, avoiding the tag of catcher Hank Conger even though the relay throw home from second baseman Howie Kendrick got there first.

The throw was just to the first base side of the plate, and Morneau slid wide to the other side, reaching out and touching the plate with his hand.

Twins starter Kyle Gibson gave up two runs and five hits in six innings, the runs coming on solo homers by Albert Pujols and Trumbo in the fourth inning.

"The boys, I'm really happy for them," Gardenhire said. "They're really playing, they're rooting for each other in the dugout and they're getting after the game pretty hard right now."

NOTES: Angels RF Josh Hamilton had X-rays on his sore right ankle, which came back negative. An MRI exam showed inflammation but no significant injury. Hamilton was expected to get a cortisone shot and could be ready to rejoin the lineup Thursday or Friday in Oakland. ... Angels OF Mike Trout singled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 15 games, a career best. ... Los Angeles LHP Jason Vargas, recovering from surgery to remove a blood clot near his armpit, threw a 30-pitch bullpen session. Vargas, who is second on the Angels' staff with six wins, could return to the rotation in mid-August after he rebuilds arm strength and stamina.
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