MINNEAPOLIS — Mitch Garver demonstrated his value to the Minnesota Twins again Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Angels. Now, Minnesota is hoping it hasn’t lost its surprisingly productive catcher for an extended period.
Garver hit a two-run homer and tagged out Shohei Ohtani trying to score the tying run in the eighth inning before leaving with a left high ankle sprain during a 4-3 victory.
Manager Rocco Baldelli said the team would know more about Garver’s prognosis following additional testing Wednesday.
“Probably not in as much pain as I was expecting,” Baldelli said. “But anything beyond that is speculation.”
Garver homered in the third to give Minnesota a three-run lead behind Kyle Gibson (4-1). It was Garver’s ninth homer and traveled to the second deck in left field. Byron Buxton added an RBI double the next inning, and five relievers combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings, with Blake Parker getting his seventh save in seven chances.
Ohtani had three hits, including an RBI single as part of a three-run sixth, but he was thrown out at third base in the sixth and at home in the eighth after Brian Goodwin’s single to center.
Garver, a breakout performer this season with a .329 average, took in Buxton’s throw and applied the tag on Ohtani, then had to be helped off the field without putting weight on his left leg. Garver’s foot twisted awkwardly as Ohtani slid into his leg. He was replaced the next inning by Jason Castro.
“Just the perfect throw to Garv was, I mean, obviously saved the game,” Gibson said. “We’re definitely worried about Garv. He’s been one of our better players all year, and really consistent behind the plate, and hopefully everything comes back negative and he’s fine.”
The Twins lead the majors with 16 home runs and 38 RBI from the catching position, also getting strong contributions from Castro and Willians Astudillo.
“You can’t fake what he is doing,” Baldelli said of Garver. “He sees the ball. He makes great decisions on a pitch-to-pitch basis. He has tremendous at-bats. When you have at-bats like that and have a good, short stroke, it’s a good combination and that’s what he’s working with.”
Ohtani is batting .321 in seven games after missing the start of the season recovering from Tommy John surgery.
“I had to take that gamble,” Ohtani said through an interpreter about the play at the plate. “I felt like I had a decent chance, but the results weren’t the way I wanted.”
Cam Bedrosian (1-2) took the loss for Los Angeles, serving as the opener for primary pitcher Felix Pena. Bedrosian gave up one run and two hits in one inning.
Gibson cruised through five innings before running into trouble in the sixth. He allowed three runs, six hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings.
First baseman Justin Bour was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake after the game. He struck out in a pinch-hitting appearance Tuesday and is hitting .163 with four homers and 14 RBI in 30 games.
“I can’t really say it’s come as any kind of surprise,” said Bour, who’s hit at least 20 home runs in three of the past four seasons and owns a .255 career average. “Obviously, the beginning of the season hasn’t clicked for me like I know I’m capable of doing. But it’s one of those things where you have two ways of looking at it, and I’m looking at it as an opportunity to go down, figure some stuff out and get back as soon as possible.”
BAT ON THE BALL
Gibson struck out Andrelton Simmons in the second inning, snapping Simmons’ streak of 61 plate appearances without a strikeout, which was the longest active streak in baseball.
Astudillo struck out in the eighth after going 44 plate appearances without a strikeout. It was just the second strikeout for Astudillo this season in 64 plate appearances.
Angels: Manager Brad Ausmus said he expects OF Kole Calhoun to return Friday. Calhoun was placed on the paternity list before the game and IF Luis Rengifo was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake. … RHP JC Ramirez threw a 45-point intrasquad game in Arizona on Tuesday as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery. … LHP Andrew Heaney (elbow) will make a start in extended spring training tomorrow.
Twins: Nelson Cruz was out of the lineup for the second straight day as he deals with a sore left wrist. … 2B Jonathan Schoop was back in the starting lineup for the first time since Saturday due to a sore left shoulder.
Jake Odorizzi (5-2, 2.32 ERA) will try to extend his scoreless innings streak as he start’s Wednesday’s series finale. Trevor Cahill (2-3, 6.35) starts for Los Angeles. Odorizzi hasn’t allowed a run since the sixth inning on April 22 at Houston, a stretch covering three starts. He surrendered just one hit in seven innings in his last start. Cahill beat Baltimore in his last start, giving up two runs on four hits in six innings.