A beautiful, game-saving play turned ugly Tuesday night when Mitch Garver had to be helped off the field in the Twins' 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
Garver, who slugged a two-run homer – his ninth of the season – earlier in the game, applied the game-saving tag to nab Shohei Ohtani at home plate to end the top of the eighth inning and preserve a 4-3 Twins lead.
Ohtani was sprinting home from second base on Brian Goodwin's single to center field, but Byron Buxton unleashed a 98.6 mph dart that got to Garver in time. But after tagging out Ohtani, Garver was in obvious pain and couldn't put any weight on his left leg as he was helped off the field.
Manager Rocco Baldelli said Garver will be evaluated further on Wednesday, but the early diagnosis is a high ankle sprain.
"There's going to be contact on plays like that," Baldelli said, via the Twins. "We know it's always a possibility. ... We don't have a lot of the information. We will know a lot more tomorrow. Probably not in as much pain as I was expecting. But anything beyond that is speculation."
Garver, whose two-run homer in the third inning gave the Twins a 3-0, is having a great season, slashing .329/.418/.747 with nine homers and 19 RBI. He's hitting a home run ever 8.8 at-bats, which ranks second in the majors among regular players, trailing only Gary Sanchez (8.4 at-bats) of the New York Yankees.
It's been a painful start to the week for the Twins. On Sunday, Nelson Cruz left a game with soreness in his wrist. He could be back in the lineup Wednesday when the Twins and Angels play at noon, but if not he isn't expected to miss an extended period of time.
Meanwhile, Miguel Sano has played in 10 minor-league games as he nears his return. In those 10 games split between Class A, Double-A and Triple-A, Sano is slashing .316/.364/.579 with two homers, four doubles and nine RBI.