Herrmann steps up in a spot-start situation to power the Twins to victory.
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — 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 gametime 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.
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."
NOTES: Pujols is one homer behind Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff, who are tied for 26th place all-time. Also, Angels CF Mike Trout singled his first time up to extend his career-best hitting streak to 15 games. At 21, he is the youngest player with a streak of 15 or more with the club since 1968, when 3B Aurelio Rodriguez hit in 16 straight at age 20.