Hurting Redmond delivers Twins a win
After getting hit on shoulder, catcher hits game-winner
MINNEAPOLIS -- It's common knowledge around the Twins clubhouse that backup catcher Mike Redmond is going to get roughed up on days he starts behind the plate.From foul tips to collisions at the plate to well, just about any injury you can imagine, Redmond is generally the one in the middle of the action. And that was the case again Thursday afternoon. Despite being in obvious pain after getting struck in the back of his left shoulder by the bat of Royals shortstop Tony Pena Jr. in the fourth inning, Redmond remained in the game to catch. Without a third catcher on the roster, the team didn't have a replacement option on the bench to substitute for him. But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said there was no question that Redmond was going to remain in the game after he was hit. That's because the catcher made it clear to his skipper that he wasn't about to be taken out. And Gardenhire agreed with the assessment. "There was no blood so if there's no blood, he's in," Gardenhire said with a laugh. "That's the Fireman's creed." "I don't come out of games unless they carry me out," Redmond added. In a game which both the Twins and the Royals worked through plenty of miscues until the 11th inning, it seemed only fitting that the player that battled through the rest of the game with a bum shoulder would be the one to come up with the big hit in a game that was clearly lacking them. Redmond delivered the game-winner to center, which helped the Twins get a 1-0 victory in what can only be described as an all-out ugly contest between the two division foes. From Torii Hunter getting hit in the mouth by a pitch from Royals starter Zack Greinke to Alexi Casilla's defensive mistake when dropping a ball out of his glove to plenty of scuffles by both offenses, it seemingly took everything the Twins had to get out of the game without more carnage. "We got a win," Gardenhire said. "It was not a beautiful thing. But guys were trying in the dugout and guys were getting after it as hard as they can. Offensively, we're not quite where we want to be right now but we got three hits in the last inning and a great pitching performance on our side shutting them down." "Great" might not exactly be the way to describe the pitching or the offense on either side. That's because on Thursday, futility was the name of the game for both clubs. That seems to be the only description fitting for a game that was scoreless through 10 innings, despite the fact that the two teams combined for a total of 29 baserunners in that span. And only 10 of those runners reached courtesy of hits. Twins starter Boof Bonser had a very unusual outing where he saw his share of ups and downs. The good: Bonser struck out eight. And the bad: Bonser walked a total of seven batters in the outing. But even with his control problems, Bonser did not give up a single run in five innings as he allowed just three hits while throwing a total of 108 pitches. Even with his first scoreless outing of the year, Bonser left the game quite frustrated with his own performance. "It was an ugly five, put it that way," Bonser said. "He worked out of it but it was finger paint, not actually art," Gardenhire said of Bonser's outing. Royals starter Zack Greinke struggled with his own control problems over his seven innings as he hit two batters in the game, including Torii Hunter who was struck in the mouth with a pitch to lead off the second inning. Hunter had to leave the game and went to Abbott Northwestern Hospital where he received three stitches for a laceration in his mouth. But control problems continued for the rest of Twins staff, too as the pitchers issued a total of 10 on the day while also recording one hit by pitch. That came in the seventh when Twins right-hander Matt Guerrier nailed Reggie Sanders in the ribs with one out in the inning. After having watched two of their own hitters get struck during the game, the Twins were clearly upset by what had occured. And although Guerrier claimed that the hit was not intentional, the theme of retaliation rung through clear in his statements. "If we don't do anything about it, people are going to question that," Guerrier said of so many of his teammates getting hit. "That's the way the game is played." That hit-by-pitch almost became real trouble when the next Royals batter hit into a fielder's choice that Alexi Casilla fielded near second base. Casilla tried to tag Sanders out in the basepath, but dropped the ball and the Royals ended up with runners at first and third with just one out. That's when Jason Bartlett made a huge play by catching a popup off the bat of Emil Brown in shallow left field, spun and threw the ball home, nabbing Sanders at the plate. From that point on, it became a waiting game to see just which club would end up the survivor of the mess. And that came in the 11th inning when the Twins tallied three consecutive hits for the first time in as long as anyone on the club can remember. The hope is that the string of hits will be enough to carry the battered Twins into an all-important series with the Tigers this weekend and get them on a roll. Something they desperately need after a rough week where theTwins went 2-5, including just a 1-3 record at home. "I'm not going to say that a 1-0 game is going to lead to a 10-game win streak but it's nice to be able to get this under our belt," Michael Cuddyer said. "And hopefully we can build off it starting tomorrow."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.