MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Twins lost to the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 in 10 innings on Sunday at Target Field, and all the talk after the game centered around Rocco Baldelli’s rant on the umpiring crew.
Tied 2-2 in the 10th inning, Tim Beckham appeared to throw out Whit Merrifield, trying to score from third base on a sacrifice fly. Toronto wanted the play reviewed, and after that review from replay officials in New York, it was determined that Twins’ catcher Gary Sanchez blocked the plate before the ball arrived and didn’t give Merrifield a sliding lane.
The call was overturned, the Blue Jays went up 3-2 and eventually won the game and the weekend series. Baldelli, normally mild-mannered and rarely critical, bolted out of the dugout, threw has cap to the ground and kicked dirt while screaming at home plate umpire Marty Foster.
"That's beyond embarrassing for our game, for all the players out there," Baldelli told reporters post game during a profanity-laced tirade. "It's one of the worst moments I think we've seen of umpiring in any game I've ever been a part of in baseball. It was pathetic, what just played out."
Sanchez said post game he thought he did everything he could do to record the out within the rules.
"I thought it was a clean play. He didn't use the outside lane, he went on top of me. If I lower my knee before I get the ball, or before the runner gets to home plate, then I'm blocking the plate. That's not what I did. I caught the ball and then went down to tag him. It's a clean play," Sanchez said.
Baldelli figures to get fined by Major League Baseball, if not suspended, for his comments. More troubling for the Twins is they head on a West Coast road trip against the Dodgers and Angels with a one-game lead over the Cleveland Guardians, and two-game lead over the Chicago White Sox, in the American League Central Division.
The Twins don’t face the White Sox until a Labor Day weekend series in Chicago. They next face the Guardians at Target Field Sept. 9-11. Perhaps Baldelli is feeling the pressure of a tight division race, but he went out of his way Sunday to make his point that he disagreed with the 10th inning call.
"Awful. Awful. Awful, in every possible way. You're looking for umpires to keep things in order on the field, and the guys in the replay booth clearly did not. I think it was pathetic," Baldelli said.