MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -
's ear-to-ear smile was just as rare as the feat that prompted it.
Kubel has finally taught himself how to relax in his third season as a regular for Minnesota, and this was a fine way to loosen
up: Hitting for the cycle with a go-ahead grand slam.
Kubel completed the ninth cycle in Twins history in dramatic fashion to cap a seven-run rally in the bottom of the eighth
inning and lift Minnesota past the
Los Angeles Angels
11-9 on Friday night.
(0-1) intentionally walked
to load the bases, a move that will fire any batter up. But Kubel stayed calm and let a curveball go by for strike one.
The next one was right where he wanted it, and it landed in the upper deck.
''They're going to have to start respecting him, man, as a hitter,'' said
, whose two-run double cut the Angels' lead to 9-7. ''The guy had 20 home runs last year, but keep walking Morneau and pitch
to him and you'll get your feelings hurt.''
Kubel singled, doubled and tripled in his first three at-bats before striking out with a runner on third in the seventh. With
Los Angeles leading 9-4,
with one out in the eighth and gave up an RBI single to
. He walked
to load the bases before Span's double.
Bulger entered and struck out
, who earlier homered, but Kubel made the Angels pay for putting Morneau on. The 26-year-old outfielder was frustrated with
himself for not doing more to help out the lineup, now that he's been hitting behind the 2006 AL MVP, but he maintained a
level head once he saw what the Angels were doing.
''It used to really fire me up, and I used to get myself out,'' said the normally stone-faced Kubel. ''So I just stayed calm
and just knew what the circumstances were and just went from there.''
pitched a perfect ninth for his second save, punctuating a wild night at the Metrodome that started with 7 1/2 innings of
more bad baseball by the home team.
The Twins have been behind in all 12 games, rallying to win five, while keeping manager
plenty busy. He's written out 12 different lineups and made almost a month's worth of trips to the mound this week with his
pitching staff struggling to get in a groove.
(1-0) picked up the victory in relief after having a hand in a five-run, two-out rally by the Angels in the seventh that gave
them an 8-3 lead. The Twins were beat up by the
Toronto Blue Jays
earlier in the week, and after Thursday's lopsided loss Gardenhire urged his players to stay positive and stay together.
''To come back and get that win after being down like that, that's exactly what we talked about last night,'' Gardenhire said.
''There's no quit. These guys are going to play. It's a nine-inning ballgame, and they played a full nine.''
allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings for Minnesota.
gave up two runs in three innings before elbow stiffness ended his night. He's been filling a rotation spot while
recover from injuries. The biggest blow came before the game, though, when cleanup hitter
was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a torn muscle in his chest.
''It's part of baseball,'' third baseman
said. ''That's why you have guys in the minor leagues. That's why you have guys on the bench. They help the team get the team
Notes: Lackey (forearm) and Santana (elbow) are feeling great, manager
said, after their most recent bullpen sessions and will throw again this weekend. They're still on track to be back next month.
Escobar (shoulder) might be a little longer. ... New reliever
joined Minnesota during the game. Kubel and
were greeting him in the clubhouse afterward, when Young pointed a thumb toward Kubel and said, ''He's the hero.'' ... This
was only the fourth cycle in the Metrodome's 28-year history. The others:
in 1991 for the
in 2003 for the