Mike Trout nearly cost the Angels a key run, unwittingly, with his speed and aggressive baserunning in the seventh inning Saturday night, but his Matrix-like elusiveness on a slide into third helped his team pull even with Minnesota.
The teams remained deadlocked for four more innings before the Twins broke out for two runs in the 12th inning of a 5-3 victory in front of 40,117 in Angel Stadium.
Eddie Rosario led off the 12th with an infield single against right-hander Noe Ramirez, who was pitching his third inning of relief, and Mitch Garver shot a run-scoring double past diving third baseman Zack Cozart and into the left-field corner.
Gregorio Petit hit a run-scoring single to center for a two-run cushion, and closer Fernando Rodney picked up his seventh save.
“You know you’re going to have 10 of those exhilarating wins during a season and 10 losses that rip your heart out,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “This one is obviously in the tough-loss basket, but we’re going to turn the page, come out [Sunday] and hopefully come away with a win.”
The Angels trailed 3-2 when Kole Calhoun drew a leadoff walk from reliever Ryan Pressly in the seventh. Rene Rivera struck out, but Calhoun took second on a passed ball. Cozart struck out and Trout drew a four-pitch walk.
Up stepped Justin Upton, who entered on a nine-game tear in which he hit .351 with a 1.297 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, six homers, 14 RBIs and 12 runs. Upton worked the count to 3 and 1 before ripping an 88-mph slider for a single to left-center field.
Calhoun was waved home and Trout went from first to third. Left fielder Rosario made a strong throw to third but Trout avoided Eduardo Escobar’s lunging tag with a twisting, head-first slide past the infield side of the bag.
Trout scrambled back to the base as Calhoun scored for a 3-3 tie. Had Escobar tagged Trout on his first pass, the run would not have counted because Calhoun had not yet reached the plate.
“I thought he was going to throw home but once he fired to third I told myself I can’t get tagged out here,” Trout said. “The throw was to the right a little bit. I slid to the left, past the bag. Dino [Ebel, third-base coach] helped me a lot with the throw. It was a crazy play.”
Blake Parker (seventh), Cam Bedrosian (eighth) and Keynan Middleton (ninth) worked in relief of right-hander Nick Tropeano, and Ramirez retired the side in order in the 10th and 11th before stumbling in the 12th.
The Angels threatened in the ninth inning when Trout drew his fourth walk with two outs and took third on Upton’s single to center field, but Albert Pujols hit a 105-mph line drive to center field for an out. The Angels put two runners on with one out in the 10th inning but Calhoun and Rivera flied out.
Sidearm-throwing Trevor Hildenberger opened the bottom of the 11th by hitting Cozart with a pitch. Trout grounded into a fielder’s choice and stole second base. He tagged on Upton’s fly to medium right field and took third base.
Pujols and Andrelton Simmons were walked intentionally to load the bases for Jefry Marte, who tapped a grounder to the mound and was thrown out.
Tropeano, activated Saturday after a 10-day stint on the disabled list because of shoulder inflammation, gave up three runs and five hits in six innings, striking out two batters and walking three, his only trouble coming in the third inning.
After retiring six consecutive batters to open the game, the right-hander suffered a sudden loss of command, falling behind each of the first five batters in the third with 2-and-0 counts.
Logan Morrison drew a leadoff walk and Ehire Adrianza poked a single to right field. No. 9 hitter Byron Buxton looped a run-scoring double to shallow left-center field. Joe Mauer ripped a run-scoring single to right field. Brian Dozier hit a sacrifice fly to center field for a 3-0 lead before Max Kepler grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The Angels got one run back in the third inning, a rally Cozart sparked when he one-hopped the short wall in left field for a ground-rule double against starter Kyle Gibson, who was picked 22nd overall in the 2009 draft, three spots ahead of Trout.
Cozart took third on a wild pitch and, after Trout walked, scored on Upton’s fielder’s choice. Pujols singled to put two on with two out, but Simmons flied out.