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Angels beat Twins 4-3 in first game of doubleheader, close gap in playoff race

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Angels 4  Twins 3

The Angels did their best to manufacture runs today, much like teams that enjoying winning are wont to do, and it worked quite well in their favor. That is, until Trevor Gott came in during the seventh for starter Andrew Heaney, and manufactured a screw up that would eventually send this game into extra innings.

Andrew Heaney was on the bump today, and looked strong through six innings pitched. He had his slider on lock down, and had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning. He ended up giving an RBI single to Kurt Suzuki in the sixth, when he not only lost his no-hitter, but also his shutout. Outside of that little snafu, the rookie looked sick(figuratively) and with the help of his everyday player compadres, was looking at a nifty and important win.

You see, the Angels had two runs on the board by that time, but not through any plays that will wow you or end up on Sportscenter Top 10 highlight reels. They manufactured runs, moved guys over effectively, hustled on the base paths and took advantage of some good, ol' fashioned bloopers from the Twins.

Mike Trout got a sac fly in the sixth, and C.J. Cron drove one in with a fielder's choice. Then, in the seventh, the Angels took a 3-1 lead on a David Murphy RBI fielder's choice. Joe Mauer had made a nice diving stop to get it, but went home to try and throw out Kaleb Cowart, but was late and the run scored.

The 3-1 lead should have been good enough to put our guys in the locker room, watching college football and/or napping until they had to get up and do it all over again in the second game of the doubleheader. Trevor Gott would see to that not happening so soon, however, as he would come in to relieve Heaney only to give up a 2-run, game tying homer to Miguel Sano. The two squads wouldn't budge from that 3-3 tie no matter how hard they'd try in the remaining, regular-play innings, so off to extras we went.

The extra inning stalemate wasn't broken until the 12th, when the Angels got back to their run manufacturing ways, once again to great success. Daniel Robertson had a ground misplayed by Ryan Dozier, getting him on safely, and then Chris Iannetta took a walk on four pitches from Twins reliever Blaine Boyer(who, by the looks of him, also plays for the Vikings or he IS an actual viking). Ryan Jackson's sac bunt moved both guys over to second and third and the Angels had something brewing.

A Kole Calhoun grounder, of all things, was the straw that broke Minnesota's back, as the Red Baron drove in the winning run on a ground out to shortstop. The Angels took that 4-3 lead, put it in their playoff race pocket, and looked to Huston Street to seal the deal. Torii Hunter had a single against street, but that would be the only noise the Twins would make as the Angels got the victory and tied Minnesota in the race for the Wild Card.

They are now 1.5 games back behind Houston for that play-in game spot, believe it or not. Strange things are afoot in the AL West. And we're not even done with baseball for the day. This team is doing things, against all odds.

Game two is at 4pm PST.