MINNEAPOLIS — Chris Herrmann couldn’t stop smiling as he rounded the bases Sunday in the fourth inning. And who could blame him.
Herrmann hit his first career major league home run in Sunday’s 10-0 over the Seattle Mariners. Herrmann drove a 1-2 pitch from Jeremy Bonderman to left field for an estimated 373-foot homer.
The emotion on Herrmann’s face following the home run said it all.
“A dream come true,” said a beaming Herrmann in the clubhouse after the win. “Everybody’s dream is to hit a home run in the major leagues. I put a good swing on that ball and it went out of the park. I can’t ask for more than that.”
Herrmann said he couldn’t tell initially that the ball was gone. Mariners left fielder Jason Bay ran back toward the wall but stopped and watched as it sailed over his head a few rows deep into the left field seats.
“I hit it and I started running. I expected a double,” Herrmann said. “Then I heard the fans screaming, so at that point I knew it was gone.”
The Twins were able to get the ball back from the fan who caught Herrmann’s first career homer. Herrmann showed it off in the locker room after the game, sealed safely in a plastic bag. The plan is to send it home to his parents, he said, since they weren’t able to see him hit it in person.
The cost to get the ball back? An autographed baseball from another catcher, Joe Mauer.
“Everybody wants something from Mauer,” Herrmann said. “He’s a great player. He’s a great teammate. He’s the franchise of the team. Everybody on this team looks up to him.”
Herrmann finished the day 2-for-4. Following his home run in the fourth, he later singled to center in the eighth inning. Even his fly ball in the seventh was deep enough to right field that it reached the warning track.
The 25-year-old Herrmann made his major league debut last year but played in only seven games and was just 1-for-18 with a walk. Prior to Sunday he played in two games and was 1-for-3 with an RBI. He scored his first major league run in the second inning after he reached on a fielder’s choice and later crossed home on Brian Dozier’s double to left field.
His next time up to the plate will likely be one of his most memorable at-bats he’ll ever have. On a 1-2 count, Herrmann went deep to the opposite field in left to help his team rout the Mariners.
“It’s hard to describe the feeling I have right now,” Herrmann said. “This is just something I’m going to cherish for a long, long time.”
Added manager Ron Gardenhire: “Your first home run in the big leagues is a special thing. He played well out there in the outfield, too.”
Diamond bounces back: The last four starts were not what Twins fans had grown accustomed to seeing from left-hander Scott Diamond. He didn’t go deeper than 5 2/3 innings in any of those four outings and twice allowed six runs. Last time out against Milwaukee he was yanked after giving up four runs on eight hits in just 4-2/3 innings.
Diamond bounced back Sunday with a strong six innings of work. He held the Mariners scoreless while allowing just four hits, all singles. Seattle jumped on Diamond early for three hits in the first inning but he was aided by a lineout double play off the bat of Bay.
“I think getting out of that inning unscathed really just let it click,” Diamond said. “I just tried to build from there and realize to kind of take a breath and go on from there.”
After escaping the first inning without allowing a run, Diamond faced the minimum for the next five innings. He got more help on defense from right fielder Chris Parmelee, whose throw to second base beat Kendrys Morales after Morales tried to stretch a single off the wall into a double.
Diamond issued just one walk and struck out three on 98 pitches. Gardenhire said he wanted to send Diamond back out for the seventh inning but opted to go to the bullpen after the bottom of the sixth inning made for a long wait for Diamond.
Instead, Diamond was out after six innings but earned his first win at Target Field this season. He was previously 0-4 with an 8.27 ERA in four starts at home.
“It’s been a while,” Diamond said. “To be able to get that down is pretty good. But I think it’s more important to finish off the home stand strong. We played 17 games in a row. To finish it off the way we did, I think it shows how we’re continuing to build.”
Colabello optioned: After Sunday’s game, the Twins optioned infielder Chris Colabello to Triple-A Rochester. A corresponding move will be made prior to Tuesday’s game in Kansas City.
Colabello, a seven-year veteran of the Canadian-American League, made his major league debut earlier this year and has appeared in six games for Minnesota. He was just 2-for-15 (.133) in a limited role.