The Minnesota Twins are a mediocre team in a mediocre division contending for a divisional championship. Last night they won the game and moved back into first place in a most improbable fashion with two outs in the bottom of the ninth on a play at the plate that should have resulted in the third out. Instead the tying run scored when the catcher dropped the ball in the collision at the plate and the winning run scored when the batter crossed the plate in the resulting confusion.
The play at the plate in yesterday’s game is one of several unusual plays in which the Twins have been involved this year. The baseball gods have mostly smiled on the Twins in these plays, but the Twins have also been the butt of one or two of these plays as well. Star Tribune baseball reporter Jim Souhan collects them in a sidebar that makes for entertaining reading if you have any interest in baseball: “Strange plays scramble Twins’ season.” Here are my two favorites of the plays Souhan recounts.
The Twins benefited from a bonehead play by Detroit outfielder Alex Sanchez when the “outfielder changed the glove from one hand to the other while trying to cut off a ball rolling to the fence. Detroit center fielder Alex Sanchez did this, then accidentally stepped on his glove, kicking it away.”
The Twins were victimized by their own pitcher in a play involving baserunning miscues of the Little League variety. “In Baltimore, the Twins had an appeal play at home plate that the pitcher messed up by throwing the ball home as if it were a pitch, instead of stepping off the rubber.
“That happened after Orioles shortstop Jose Morban ran from third to home on a fly ball without tagging up, then returned to third without retouching home when he realized his mistake. The Twins appealed, but pitcher LaTroy Hawkins threw home, softly, from the rubber, making it a pitch and not an appeal. Twins coaches say they’ve never seen any of those things happen, not to mention them all on one play.”
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