By Joe Christensen
ANAHEIM — Former Twins infielder Denny Hocking, who lives in Orange County, was at home in bed tonight, watching his old team play the Angels, when he noticed something peculiar about Adam Everett’s jersey.
Sure enough, there was a misspelling across Everett’s chest: M I N N E S T O A.
So Hocking sent a text message to Angel Stadium, and someone relayed the message to the Twins’ clubhouse.
After the fourth inning, Everett came in from shortstop and started getting ready to lead off the fifth, when equipment manager Rod McCormick, alerted him to the problem.
“I’ve gotta lead off here,” Everett said.
But McCormick had another of Everett’s jerseys ready, with Minnesota properly spelled. Everett slipped back into the tunnel, did the quick change, and went to the plate good as new. He hit a bloop single, eventually scoring the third run in the Twins’ 9-0 victory.
Everett was still smiling about the jersey snafu after the game. Earlier this week, Nick Punto sent a screaming liner into the dugout and almost sent Everett back on the disabled list with an injured right hand.
This time, “I’m going, ‘No way,’” Everett said. “I mean, I am snake bit. This is unbelievable.”
Hocking, who visited the clubhouse after the game, said, “Middle infielders take care of each other.”
BACK IN FIRST
With Chicago’s 9-4 loss to Tampa Bay, the Twins moved back into first place for the fifth time this month.
Asked if his team was likely to play Leap Frog with the White Sox the rest of the way, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, “No. I’d like to go on strike right now and end the season and start the playoffs right now.
“As T.K. always said, ‘Stop the race.’
“We’re just going to keep playing. There’s a long ways to go here. It would be nice to get where the Angels are, and get a big lead, but all we can control is our games and do the best we can.”
PERKINS CONTINUES ROLL
Glen Perkins (11-3) was in complete control, allowing five hits and two walks in eight innings. He is 9-1 in his past 15 starts.
Pitching coach Rick Anderson put an arm around Perkins after the eighth inning and praised him for not letting up with a big lead this time. Perkins was at 107 pitches and missed a chance at his first career shutout.
“You get over 100 pitches — and we’ve been there before — it’s not worth risking an injury,” Perkins said. “So I understood that. I’ll get a chance at some point, but if I go eight and don’t give up any runs every time, that’s not too shabby.”
MORNEAU SNAPS SKID
Both teams started emptying their benches in the late innings. But Justin Morneau asked Gardenhire to let him hit in the ninth, even with the Twins up by nine runs.
Morneau was in an 0-for-26 slide against the Angels that dates back to last year.
“He told me he can’t sleep at night,” Gardenhire said.
So Morneau got his chance to hit and singled, ending his skid.
“How about that?!” Gardenhire said.
(*) As Bill Plunkett notes in the Orange County Register, Angels manager Mike Scioscia kept the clubhouse doors closed for 18 minutes, telling his players they had to stay hungry despite a 15-game lead over Texas in the AL West.
The Angels have lost seven of their past nine games.
(*) Joe Mauer extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a seventh-inning single.
(*) Nick Punto extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a sixth-inning single.
(*) The Twins had their highest scoring output at Angel Stadium since June 26, 2000, when they defeated the Angels 10-8.
(*) No time for In-n-Out Burger today with stories due for our early Sunday editions. I did visit the Panda Express across from the stadium, where a big sign has two pandas dressed in boxing gear with the words: Orange Chicken vs. Beijing Beef.
I ordered both and gave this one to Beijing Beef in a 10-bite decision.