It took everything for the Twins to hold off the Angels on Tuesday. Maybe more than they wanted.
Byron Buxton made the defensive play of the ninth, with a 250-foot throw from center field to home plate on the fly in time to throw out Shohei Ohtani, who tried to score from second on a single by Brian Goodwin.
Twins catcher Mitch Garver caught the ball and turned to tag Ohtani. In doing so, he turned his left foot into a vulnerable spot, and he twisted to the ground as Ohtani slid feet first into him.
Garver was down for a couple minutes, then needed to be helped off the field as he was unable to put any weight in the foot. He was part of a big play that kept the tying run from scoring in the Twins 4-3 win over the Angels on Tuesday – but the Twins will brace to learn at what cost.
Blake Parker came on in the eighth inning and picked up a four-out save, and the Twins avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season.
It wasn't easy, as the Angels scored three runs in the sixth, and the Twins phone line to the bullpen heated up.
Right-hander Kyle Gibson was on his way to another strong outing. He struck out the side in the second and didn't give up a hit until Tommy La Stella's leadoff single in the fourth. He looked like the Gibson who had posted a 2.25 ERA over his previous four starts. And, once again, he was having success with his slider, a pitch that opponents were hitting .150 against entering the game.
The Twins led 4-0 through five innings. The game seemed well in hand.
But things couldn't have turned more quickly for Gibson, who failed to get out of the sixth.
Gibson began the inning by walking Luis Rengifo, the .179-hitting Rengifo, to put the leadoff man on. David Fletcher then dumped a double into the right-field corner, allowing Rengifo to score the Angels first run of the night.
La Stella, a pest for a second straight night, singled to put runners on first and third. Then Gibson uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Fletcher to score and make it 5-2. Mike Trout struck out on a foul tip for the first out of the inning. But Ohtani, another tough out this week, delivered a RBI single to center to drive in La Stella and pull the Angels within 4-3.
With the bullpen heating up, Andrelton Simmons singled to right. Albert Pujols was about to bat with two men on, but Ohtani inexplicably tried to advance from first to third and was thrown out with an easy relay. That, however, was Gibson's last batter, as Ryne Harper got Pujols to fly out to end the inning.
Gibson gave up three earned runs over 5 2/3 innings on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts. In eight starts this season, Gibson has pitched seven innings just once and six innings twice. The average start in Major League Baseball was between 51/3 and 52/3 innings last season, so the standards have changed through the years. Gibson, however, is at a point in his career where he should know what to do with a four-run lead. He appeared to lose track of the strike zone in the sixth inning.
Eddie Rosario lined a two-out single to center in the first inning to score Jorge Polanco with the first run of the game. The run came off of Cam Bedrosian, who was the opener for right-hander Felix Pena.
Pena entered the game in the second, but the Twins got to him too. Garver hit a two-run home run in the third, his ninth of the season, to put the Twins ahead 3-0. Buxton's RBI double in the fourth made it 4-0.