In a perfect world, Byron Buxton would be the first player in Twins history to hit homer games in the park in consecutive games. Instead, he had to settle for one on Tuesday – and later he used his speed to produce another race. In the perfect world, the rest of
In a perfect world,
In the perfect world, the rest of the Twins’ offense would also have had a little more to show for their efforts in the first two games of this four-game game against the White Sox for first place in the American League Central. Instead, the bats became quiet against rookie right-hander Dane Dunning, while mood flared with the expulsion of Rocco Baldelli and
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“We did not lose tonight because of something that happened to any of the referees,”
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The loss dropped Minnesota to three games left of Chicago, meaning the Twins could not take over first place during this series. The Twins’ magic number to get a berth after the season remained at five.
Buxton hit a sharp line drive to the left midfield in the third inning against the White Sox that midfielder Luis Robert could not snare on a leaping attempt, and when the ball came off the wall and trickled away from Robert, Chicago had no chance of slowing down Buxton.
The Twins’ speedster only needed to top at a sprint speed of 29.2 feet per second on his turn around the bases as he tied the game, 1-1, with his ninth homer of the season. It’s well shy of the “elite” threshold of 30 feet per second, which Buxton has already topped 14 times this season and 322 times in his career. According to Statcast, the ball had a 50 percent chance of catching, but Robert’s inability to make the game opened the door for Buxton to take full advantage.
Inside #Bomba. #MNTwins pic.twitter.com/xrw7SLMyM1
– Minnesota Twins (@Twins) September 16, 2020
It marked Buxton’s third career at home, mostly among active players. Later, he added a single in the fifth and rounded out the bases on a wild course, a delivered ball and an RBI base course, but the rest of the lineup combined only one hit as the twins never posed a serious threat to Dunning. The White Sox meanwhile got homers from Tim Anderson and James McCann, and a clutch two-run single from Robert.
“Just another screen by Byron where he shows us things that we don’t normally get a chance to see on a baseball field,” Baldelli said. “We know how special his abilities are, and it’s a joy to see him drive around the bases, and we get to see him do something like that all the time. You’re never sure what he’s going to do because he’s really capable of pretty much anything. ”
Buxton has four homers in its last seven games. The twins claim it should have been five.
In the ninth inning of Monday’s 3-1 defeat to the Sox, Buxton hit a ball to the deep left field that rose over the glove to Eloy Jiménez and rolled against the wall, settling down to the padding of the outfield wall. Jiménez immediately gestured for the ball to be awarded, but the umpiring crew originally ruled it live so Buxton could round out the bases for what appeared to be a homer inside the park.
Although Jiménez seemed to pick up the ball easily and pass it on to the infield, the referees ruled after repeated reports that the ball was placed under the padding and thus dead, and Buxton’s homer was knocked down to a ground rule double as a result.
“I mean, it looks like it’s probably leaning against the wall,” Baldelli said. “I do not know. You could probably just bend over and pick up the ball and throw it in if you wanted to. But again, what can any of us do about it? I’m not sure.
“It’s a judgment call. You just have to live with it both ways. There’s nothing you can do about it.”
If this call had not been overturned, Buxton would only be the fifth player in Twins history (since the franchise moved back in 1961) with more parking spaces within a season, joining Tony Oliva (’64), Tom Brunansky (’82 ), Greg Gagne (’86) and Steve Lombardozzi (’88).
“I know he did not get credit for the first one, but probably something we have not seen much of,” Baldelli said. “I know I did not.”
This rollover was just one of several controversial plays in this series – inclusive
Baldelli was not sure if the drafts were any transfer from the remaining frustrations Monday night as the twins had trouble with the two calls and stranded a season-high 15 runners at base. Whatever it is on the twins to play up to their potential when they finally get healthy.
“You generally get more frustrated with calls when you don’t play up to your abilities and expectations,” Baldelli said. “It’s up to us to go out and play better and not have to trust that close calls are the deciding factors in these games.”
Do-Hyoung Park covers the twins for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark and on Instagram at dohyoung.park.