A rain delay forced the Angels to idle for four hours Saturday.
Turns out it also was pouring inside.
“I had like four Red Bulls,” pitcher Tyler Skaggs said. “I was ready to go.”
Heavily caffeinated and sufficiently armed, the left-hander produced seven solid-and-then-some innings as the Angels won their sixth game in a row, beating Minnesota 2-1.
Skaggs arrived at Target Field early Saturday, taking the first of two buses from the team’s hotel like he usually does.
He then waited more than seven hours to pitch, passing the time by with sugar and vitamin B, 12 ounces at a time.
“I knew it was going to rain,” said Skaggs, who routinely checks the weather forecast. “But I didn’t know it was going to be that long.”
When the game finally began, he didn’t appear to be the least bit inconvenienced. Skaggs had a 1-2-3 first inning, overcame a 26-pitch second that included a double and a walk, then had another 1-2-3 inning in the third.
In the third, he retired Bobby Wilson, Brian Dozier and Eddie Rosario with a fastball, a changeup and a curve.
Then, in the fourth, he struck out Robbie Grossman during an at-bat that featured a 71-mph strike one (curve) and a 93-mph strike three (fastball).
“It’s not easy to sit around for four hours and wonder are you going to pitch or not pitch,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “When we got a definitive (start) time, you could see him go into overdrive and just get ready.”
After giving up a leadoff double to start the fifth, Skaggs retired the next three hitters on eight pitches, including a foul tip that catcher Jose Briceno secured for strikeout of Dozier.
The only run the Twins scored came on a double play that helped end a sixth-inning threat.
Then came the seventh, when Skaggs supplied what he called the “exclamation point.” On his 100th pitch of the day, he struck out Miguel Sano. On his 108th pitch, he struck out Ehire Adrianza. On his 112th and final pitch, he struck out Ryan LaMarre.
“He went to the auxiliary tank,” Scioscia said, “and just finished strong.”
Skaggs (5-4, 3.08 ERA) matched rookie Jaime Barria for the team lead in victories, doing so by holding the Twins hitless in five at-bats with runners in scoring position.
The Angels’ runs came on home runs by Ian Kinsler — who has homered in three straight and hit six in his past 11 games — and Albert Pujols.
After Kinsler’s home run in the third, Mike Trout and Justin Upton walked. Pujols thought he drew a walk, too, but umpire Jim Reynolds disagreed. He called him out on a full-count strike three that, upon review, appeared to be outside.
Pujols demonstratively reacted but avoided saying anything that would get him ejected.
Good thing because Pujols hit his homer in his next at-bat.
The RBI was the 1,951st of his career, tying Pujols for sixth all-time with Stan Musial, a Hall of Famer he got to know during his time in St. Louis.
For a player whose name appears routinely on lists with baseball’s greatest ever, matching Musial brought something extra for Pujols.
After the game, he said he would be giving his jersey and his bat and the ball to the Musial family.