ANAHEIM, Calif. — When Rocco Baldelli took a slow walk out to the mound in the sixth inning Friday, the Twins manager was evidently not set on what was coming next. Normally, when Baldelli makes that walk, with his starter in trouble and a reliever fully warmed up, he takes the ball, gives the starter a pat on the back and then waits as the reliever trots in from the bullpen to hand it off.
But Friday night, he didn’t do that.
Friday, with two outs and runners on second and third, Baldelli made his way to the mound, had a chat with Mahle and the group of players assembled around him and then made his way back to the dugout.
Baldelli’s faith in Mahle paid off, as he got Taylor Ward to fly out to right field, working his way out of the only jam he encountered all night. Mahle’s six scoreless innings led the Twins to a 4-0 win on Friday night over the Angels at Angel Stadium.
Prior to that inning, Mahle, hadn’t even allowed a runner to reach second base. The righty allowed just three hits in his outing, turning in a strong performance in just his second start as a Twin. Mahle, Michael Fulmer and Jorge López, all of whom were acquired in the trade deadline, each turned in scoreless efforts. So, too, did Jhoan Duran, who tossed a scoreless eighth.
Mahle was pitching with a lead for most of his start as Gilberto Celestino deposited a ball into the Twins bullpen in left field. It was Celestino’s first home run since June 30, and it brought home Gio Urshela, who had singled right before him. Urshela finished the day a triple shy of the cycle, doubling in the fourth inning and adding his 11th home run of the season in the sixth.