Low & Outside: AL Notes

Danny Valencia 's first HR was a slam.
Danny Valencia 's first HR was a slam.
Posted: July 28, 2010

First time is the right time

The Twins' Danny Valencia is living the dream. His first major-league home run was a grand slam in a 19-1 victory. He went 4 for 4. Plus, the slam was off the reigning AL Cy Young winner in a six-run first inning. The rookie third baseman, who didn't even homer in the minors this year before being called up in early June, cleared the bases against Zack Greinke in the first inning of Minnesota's rout of Kansas City on Monday night.

"What better way to start it off?" Valencia said with a big grin. "Not just hit a home run, but a grand slam, and off a guy who's an accomplished big-leaguer and won the Cy Young. It was great."

No cycle

In that same game, Joe Mauer went 5 for 5 with a home run and a career-high seven RBIs. The AL MVP in 2009 had three singles, a double, and a three-run homer. The crowd booed in the eighth when Drew Butera pinch-hit for him.

"I asked him if he wanted another bat," Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire said. "Do you want to hit? He said, 'No, I'm good.' That's good enough for me."

And now the stats

Five Twins had multihit games. Their 11 extra-base hits included two home runs, two triples, and seven doubles. Alexi Casilla had three RBIs and scored three runs, and Delmon Young had four hits, an RBI, and two runs scored.

Wilson Betemit's RBI double off Anthony Slama with two out in the ninth prevented the Royals from suffering their worst shutout loss ever. K.C.'s Jason Kendall became the fifth catcher in major-league history to catch 2,000 games.

No-hit, no wonder

Matt Garza insists that throwing the first no-hitter in Tampa Bay history isn't the most satisfying moment of his career. What makes him really smile is an MVP performance as the winning pitcher in Game 7 of the 2008 AL championship series. "It's not even close to that feeling. Shoot, we went to the World Series," the hard-throwing righthander said. "I'm a big team athlete. Anything that gets us to the next level is what I'll do. We win - we all win, and I win. Tonight was just about these guys. They played great defense. They hit when they had to. If they weren't there, I wouldn't be in here" talking about it.

The Big Hurt

Aug. 29 is Frank Thomas day at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. The two-time AL MVP is rejoining the White Sox as a team ambassador that Sunday, and his No. 35 will be retired. It's the 10th number retired by the Sox.


The Yanks' Andy Pettitte, nursing a groin injury, was "feeling good" after going through a series of running and agility drills. . . . Dan Haren left his first start for the Angels with a bruised forearm in the fifth inning Monday after a line drive hit him in the right arm. . . . Tampa Bay Rays centerfielder B.J. Upton left Tuesday night's game against Detroit with a sprained left ankle. . . . Righthander Gil Meche of the Kansas City Royals will undergo surgery on his pitching shoulder that probably will end his season. He has been on the disabled list since May 29.

Contact staff writer Sandy Spieczny at sspieczny@phillynews.com.

This article contains information from the Associated Press.