MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins have transitioned into development mode in this disappointing season, having traded All-Star slugger Nelson Cruz in the first move of what could be a more significant sell-off.
Nick Gordon and Ryan Jeffers took full advantage of the audition on Friday night.
Gordon scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning on a throwing error by catcher Kurt Suzuki after Jeffers hit the game-tying RBI single, as the Twins rallied past the Los Angeles Angels 5-4.
“We’re getting back to the fundamentals and trying to play good baseball," Jeffers said. "The rest of the season, we’re not sure what is going to be in store for us, but we’re going to put the best product on the field for y’all.”
Jeffers got his big hit off Angels closer Raisel Iglesias (6-4), who was charged with his fourth blown save in 24 attempts after being summoned with a runner on first for what would've been a six-out save.
Jeffers, who went 3 for 4, sent a grounder into left field. The throw home by Juan Lagares to try to get Miguel Sanó was way off the plate, and Suzuki misfired to third to try to get Gordon, who hustled in for the lead to punctuate the unraveling for the Angels. The second attempt home by Lagares was off line, too.
“I was surprised on both throws, quite frankly I was. He’s such a good outfielder, and he wasn't that deep,” manager Joe Maddon said.
Angels starter Alex Cobb had a 4-0 lead after two innings and a 4-2 edge in the sixth as he warmed up, but was pulled before it started because of a blister on his right index finger.
“It’s definitely not serious. It’s something that’s annoying,” Cobb said.
Gordon brought the Twins within one with an RBI single in that inning against Steve Cishek. Taylor Rogers notched his ninth save with a scoreless ninth for the Twins after a scoreless eighth by Juan Minaya (1-0) and the wild rally in between.
“Just try to make each day its own separate thing and enjoy that day and not try to look to the future or try to play GM and figure out what’s going to happen. It’s inevitable,” Rogers said.
Jack Mayfield homered for the second straight game for the Angels and made a diving stop at third base to start a key double play in the fifth. Suzuki hit a two-run homer after an RBI single by José Iglesias in a three-run first inning against Twins starter J.A. Happ.
Left-handers had only three extra-base hits in 67 plate appearances entering the night against Happ, and that was all the math Maddon needed to justify resting designated hitter Shohei Ohtani and first baseman Jared Walsh, his two healthy All-Stars.
“They’re not breaking Cal’s record,” Maddon quipped before the game, in reference to Cal Ripken Jr.'s all-time mark for consecutive games played.
Ohtani, the major league home run leader, went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts Thursday and is 4 for 24 with one homer and 14 strikeouts out of the All-Star break. He has appeared as a hitter in 90 of the team's 96 games. Walsh entered as a pinch-hitter in the seventh.
OF Brent Rooker, who’s tied for the Triple-A lead with 19 home runs, was recalled by the Twins from St. Paul to replace Nelson Cruz after the trade to Tampa Bay. Rooker took Cruz's usual DH spot.
Angels: CF Mike Trout (strained right calf), the three-time AL MVP who has not played since May 17, has not yet progressed to the point of clearance for a rehab assignment. “You don’t want to hurry something like this. You don’t want to push it to the point where he ends up reinjuring it and it becomes chronic,” Maddon said.
Twins: OF/1B Alex Kirilloff had surgery to repair his torn right wrist ligament, starting a recovery timetable of roughly two months. He likely won't return to major league action this year.
“We do want him to have a full, healthy offseason, and that’s the goal so he can go into spring training at full speed,” Baldelli said.
Angels: LHP Patrick Sandoval (2-4, 3.86 ERA) takes the mound Saturday night. Sandoval is winless in his last four starts, after allowing a career-high six runs in his last turn against Seattle.
Twins: RHP José Berríos (7-4, 3.69 ERA) pitches in the third game of the four-game series. Berríos has a 6.14 ERA in four career starts against the Angels.
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