COMMENTARY | The Minnesota Twins went extra innings Tuesday, July 23 to clinch their first road series victory against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim since 2010.
It took a number of other rare events to make it happen.
The biggest was the first-career grand slam for rookie Chris Herrmann, who had homered once in 43 previous plate appearances before breaking open a one-run game in the 10th inning. Herrmann wasn't even originally going to play in the game. He was a last-minute addition to the lineup when Joe Mauer left the team to be with his wife, who had gone into labor. She is having twins, of course.
Not only was the grand slam a rare feat for Herrmann, it was rare for the Twins. It was just the fourth extra-inning grand slam in the history of the Twins. The last was done by Joe Crede in 2009 against the Detroit Tigers. The other two Twins to do it were Jason Kubel in 2006 and Cesar Tovar in 1969.
This was the first grand slam of any kind for the Twins since Sept. 29, 2012, when Ryan Doumit, another catcher, hit one against the Detroit Tigers. The only other grand slam hit in 2012 came Sept. 1 by Joe Mauer against the Kansas City Royals.
This is actually early in the season for the Twins to get a grand slam. They haven't hit one this early in a season since 2010.
Chris Herrmann's Grand Slam Gives Minnesota Twins Rare Big Inning
Herrmann's slam gave the Twins a five-run lead in the 10th. Pedro Florimon added a two-run shot to make it a seven-run inning. It was just the second time the Twins had scored seven runs in a game in July. It was the Twins' biggest inning since scoring seven runs in the second inning of a 15-8 victory at the Boston Red Sox on May 8.
The grand slam gave the Twins more runs on one swing than they had scored in one inning since getting five runs in the first inning of a 6-2 win over the Royals on June 29, which was Kyle Gibson's major league debut. Gibson also started Tuesday's game, but he took a no-decision when Glen Perkins blew the save in the ninth inning by walking in the tying run. It was his third walk of the inning.
It was the first time Perkins had walked in a run since becoming a reliever. In fact, this was only the second time this season he's pitched with the bases loaded. This is most likely because he so rarely comes in after another pitcher has started the inning and he allows so few base runners.
The last time Perkins walked a batter with the bases loaded was in 2009 when he was still a starter for the Twins. Since 2009, Perkins had pitched 187 innings in relief without walking in a run.
Glen Perkins' Struggles Were a Rare Sight for the Minnesota Twins
It also was just the second time he had walked as many as three batters in an inning since becoming a full-time reliever. The first time was May 29, 2012, in a 3-2 victory over the Oakland A's. Perkins also got the win in that game, although he didn't allow any runs.
It was the first run Perkins had allowed since May 28, which is also the last time Perkins had blown a save.
Perkins' blown save came a day after struggling to save Monday's win over the Angels. He came into a save situation in the eighth inning for the first time this season. After giving up an RBI single to the first batter he faced, he allowed a long fly ball by Chris Iannetta with two runners on base, which Clete Thomas jumped up and caught to prevent it from being a home run.
Other firsts earlier in the game gave Perkins a large enough lead to protect. Doug Bernier's first career hit, which was a double, gave him his first RBI and gave the Twins a two-run lead in the fourth inning. It turned out to be just enough for the Twins to win.
The two victories in the series clinched a rare season series victory over the Angels. The Twins hadn't won a season series with the Angels since 2010, and it is only the second time the Twins have won a season series with the Angels since losing the 2002 ALCS to them. Since then, the Twins are 39-51 against the Angels, including 4-0 this season.
The Twins also have won four straight road games for the first time since May 2012.
If the Twins win the final two games of the season series with the Angels, it would give them another first. Neither team has ever swept a season series between them.
Darin McGilvra has been a professional sportswriter since 1997 and has been a Twins follower since Kirby Puckett's breakout season of 1986. He has been published in The Californian, a newspaper covering Riverside County, and numerous other websites.
Follow Darin on Twitter at @SoCalTwinsfan.
More from this author:
- Sports & Recreation
- Minnesota Twins
- Glen Perkins
- Chris Herrmann