Danny Valencia: Minnesota Twins 3B Hits First Home Run Since Being Recalled
With the game against the Chicago White Sox tied 1-1, Danny Valencia placed a Jake Peavy slider into the left-field seats above the 377-foot marker.
“I was able to get a good swing on that one and got the barrel on it,” he said. “That felt good.”
The Chicago White Sox took an early lead when Alejandro De Aza stole second and Adam Dunn drove him in with a sac-fly to center.
The Minnesota Twins facsimiled the action, with Ben Revere doubling to left-center, extending a 15-game hit streak and advancing to third on a Peavy pick-off throwing error.
Joe Mauer drove him in and then, in the next inning...
Danny V’s second major league home run of the season, his first since April 23 against Boston, leaves the park with a vapor trail riding behind it.
“Put a nice charge into that one,” said manager Ron Gardenhire. “[He] stayed on it and drove it.”
Peavy was a little rattled.
The former Cy Young winner dropped a throw back from home in the third inning and took a little journey around the infield before grabbing it.
Valencia’s second at-bat was a bit discombobulated.
The fan announcer, a young child, announced his name when he was already inside the box and his walk-up music, the not-so-child-friendly “F*ck ‘Em” by Rick Ross, competing with the announcement.
Scott Diamond had men on the corners with one out in the fifth. Tyler Flowers beat a double-play throw from second and scored a run, tying the game.
In his third at-bat, which came in the bottom of the seventh, Valencia worked Peavy to a full count…but struck out.
Chicago would take the lead in the top of the eighth. Flowers led the inning off with a single. De Aza would score him when he hit Diamond with a line drive in the leg and the pitcher could not get the ball home in time.
“I got hit on the inner thigh on my right leg,” said Diamond. “I looked up and saw Flowers halfway to home anyways, so I knew he was going to keep going there and I kinda rushed the throw a little bit.”
That effectively ended Diamond’s night.
“It was pretty much time for him to come out of the ballgame anyway,” said Gardenhire. “He should be fine.”
In the bottom of the eighth, Span singled to left-center with two outs and Revere advanced on a fielding error by third baseman Kevin Youkilis, bringing Mauer to the plate with men on the corners.
Then the catcher flew out to shortstop Alexei Ramirez.
The Twins mounted an attack in the bottom of the ninth, with Doumit doubling to right past a sliding Rios, setting up—you guessed it—Danny V to put Minnesota ahead.
Valencia fought with White Sox closer Addison Reed, fouling off ball after ball with a 3-2 count.
On the third ball, home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth deferred to first base ump Lance Barksdale.
On the next pitch, Valencia walked, and Casilla replaced him at first.
With two men on, both Mastroianni and Casilla stole in front of Dozier, but the Mississippian flew out to center—ending the game.
“Unfortunately,” said the skipper, “we couldn’t find another way to get a big hit again.”
Valencia’s homer wasn’t the difference-maker, but he’s now over the Mendoza line, had a great at-bat in a crucial situation and made a case that he should be allowed to stick around when Trevor Plouffe is activated off the DL.
All quotes were obtained first-hand.
Tom Schreier writes a weekly column for TheFanManifesto.com.
Follow him on Twitter @tschreier3.
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