MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jamey Carroll and the Minnesota Twins were in one heck of an offensive slump to start the season and badly in need of a pick-me-up to get them going.
Little did they know that 4-year-old Cole Carroll would be the one to provide it.
Jamey Carroll had his first two hits with Minnesota, including the go-ahead single in the seventh, and Josh Willingham hit a two-run homer to lift the Twins to their first victory of the season, 6-5 over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.
The Twins had dropped their first four games, scoring six runs combined, and began the day as the only winless team in baseball. Carroll was hitless in his first 14 at-bats. As he headed to the ballpark on Wednesday, he got a video on his phone from his wife, Kim.
“My son was upset and my wife asked him why he was upset and he said, ‘I just want dad to get a hit,'” Carroll said. “He was crying. He was also a little tired at the time, but he asked my wife if I had got a hit and she said no and I think that threw him over the edge.”
Carroll showed the video to the rest of the team, and it provided a much-needed moment of levity during a difficult start.
“We got a good laugh out of it,” Carroll said. “It was actually what I needed.”
Chris Parmelee hit a tying two-run triple in the seventh before Carroll drove him in with a single off LaTroy Hawkins. Matt Capps pitched the ninth for his first save.
Peter Bourjos hit a three-run, inside-the-park homer and Albert Pujols went 1 for 4 with an RBI for the Angels, who led 5-3 going into the bottom of the seventh.
The Angels had the tying run on second with one out in the ninth, but Capps got Vernon Wells to ground out to shortstop and Alberto Callaspo to pop out to end the game.
“It’s nice to finish on top for a change,” Capps said with a chuckle. “0-4 to start the season is never fun, but nobody in here is going to panic or throw in the towel or anything like that.”
Jeff Gray (1-0) got the last out of the seventh to get the win. Hisanori Takahashi (0-1) came in to face Parmelee and took the loss.
Carl Pavano gave up five runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings and Joe Mauer had an RBI single for the Twins.
Angels ace Jered Weaver gave up five runs and seven hits with seven strikeouts in six innings.
The Twins couldn’t seem to catch a break to start the season and picked up more bad news when right-hander Scott Baker announced he would have surgery on his elbow and miss the season.
Weaver wasn’t as sharp as his opening outing, when he struck out 10 with no walks in eight shutout innings. He gave up a towering homer to Willingham in the fourth inning that gave the Twins their first lead of the season at 3-1.
Then, in a flash, it was gone.
With two on and two out in the fifth, Bourjos hit a rocket to left field, and Willingham slammed into the wall trying to track it down. Almost before center fielder Denard Span could get over to help, it was already over and the Angels regained the lead at 4-3.
But Ryan Doumit and Danny Valencia started the seventh with singles to chase Weaver, and Parmelee followed with a rip down the right-field line. Former Twins Gold Glover Torii Hunter stumbled while chasing it into the corner and went face-first into the wall.
“I was punch drunk, felt like Mike Tyson hit me,” Hunter said. “But I got up man, it took everything in my body to get up. … I should’ve stopped the ball at all costs. I tried to and it just didn’t work out. That’s my fault.”
Hunter remained in the game, but Parmelee motored around to third before Carroll drove him in.
“Hopefully I’ll go home tonight,” Carroll said, “and there will be a 4-year-old who will wake up pretty happy tomorrow.”
NOTES: The Angels announced before the game that RHP Michael Kohn is scheduled to have Tommy John surgery on Thursday and will miss the entire season. Kohn appeared in 14 games as a reliever last season. … The inside-the-park homer was the first allowed by the Twins since Curtis Granderson did it for the Yankees on Aug. 21, 2011. … Capps picked up his first save since July 10. … The Twins send LHP Francisco Liriano (0-1, 11.25 ERA) to the mound to face RHP Dan Haren (0-1, 8.44 ERA) in the series finale.
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