The sputtering Minnesota Twins offense was in desperate need of a spark after getting one-hit by Taijuan Walker on Friday. After scoring just one run in the first eight innings Saturday, that spark finally came; but not without help from Seattle Mariners’ manager Lloyd McClendon.
McClendon made the questionable decision to intentionally walk Eddie Rosario, who represented the game’s tying run, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Twins made the Mariners pay in one of the wildest finishes of the season.
Wild is the perfect word to describe the game. Minnesota’s lone run from earlier in the game came on a wild pitch, and that’s how they tied the game up too. After Miguel Sano brought Target Field to life with a leadoff double, he was lifted for pinch runner Shane Robinson who was able to advance to third and eventually score on two separate wild pitches from Mariners closer Carson Smith.
But even after Rosario was walked intentionally and Robinson bolted home to tie the score at two with the ball at the backstop, the bizarre twists kept coming. Just a pitch after Minnesota tied the game up, McClendon argued over a check swing call with first base umpire Mike Muchlinski for almost a minute but was not tossed from the action. Rosario was then able to easily steal third a pitch later because none of Seattle’s middle infielders closed in to hold him at second base, giving him the opportunity for an incredible jump.
All these moments almost overshadowed Kurt Suzuki rolling a walk off single through the left side of the infield and giving Minnesota a much needed win.
The comeback had the crowd of 36,901 on their feet and screaming. Meaningful baseball this late in the season has not been played at Target Field since 2010, when the Twins won the AL Central in the ballpark’s inaugural season. Minnesota has suffered through countless ups-and-downs in 2015 but they’re right there in the middle of a playoff race, holding on to the second wild card spot in the American League by a game after tonight’s action concluded.
Fans in the Twin Cities have one last opportunity to cheer on their team tomorrow afternoon as Minnesota looks to take the four game series with a win against the Mariners before the team embarks on a seven game road trip.