MINNEAPOLIS -- The fog machine and strobe lights had sat unused under a table in the Twins' clubhouse, as they dropped their first nine games of the season.
But Minnesota came to life on Friday night, and so did the postgame dance party, as the Twins rallied late for a much-needed 5-4 win over the Angels at Target Field. Korean slugger Byung Ho Park delivered the go-ahead RBI double in the eighth inning, and naturally served as the lead dancer in front of his giddy teammates who finally had a victory to celebrate.
Manager Paul Molitor generally stays away from the dance parties, letting his players have their fun, but poked his head in to see what the vibe was like and whether Park could dance. His verdict?
"I only got a glimpse and that was plenty," Molitor said with a smile.
Molitor wasn't the only one smiling after the game, as Twins players felt a collective sigh of relief after getting their first win. Park was the hero, and explained he couldn't hold in his joy after delivering the clutch hit in the eighth.
"I'm not really much of an emotional guy out there," Park said through translator J.D. Kim. "I always try to keep it calm and quiet, but when I got to second base and saw Trevor [Plouffe] coming home to score that run, without thinking I threw my hands in the air and let out a scream there. But that's just how much it meant to me and the fans in the stands. It was a good feeling."
The Twins showed resolve in their first victory, as they took a 2-1 lead in the sixth, only to see it evaporate quickly with a pair of homers from Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun in the seventh to fall behind by two runs. But they tied it in the seventh -- keyed by two-out hits from Eduardo Nunez and Joe Mauer -- before taking the lead in the eighth on Park's double.
"It feels good and it was a good win," Plouffe said. "It wasn't an easy win. It's not like we won, 10-0. They came back with that seventh inning to take the wind out of our sails, but we battled back. So a win like this, I feel like can really get us going."
Nunez was the sparkplug in a rare start atop the lineup, going 3-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch, and said he believes the victory is a sign of what's to come for the Twins, who had high expectations coming into the season.
"That was huge tonight," Nunez said. "For us to come back, that's who we are. We fight and we keep battling to the end. That's us. We're going to get through this. We're going to get back."