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Rocco Baldelli’s blunder forces Twins manager to pull starter Jose Berrios in sixth inning

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Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Jose Berrios leaves the the mound during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, in Cleveland, Monday, April 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Phil Long)

Rocco Baldelli has been second-guessed for several of his decisions during the Twins’ 7-14 start, but the manager’s miscues took an odd turn on Monday night in Cleveland.

In the sixth inning of the Twins’ 5-3, 10-inning loss to the Indians, Baldelli made a trip to the mound to talk to Jose Berrios, apparently forgetting that pitching coach Wes Johnson already had gone out to visit the Twins starter earlier in the inning.

“That’s on me,” Baldelli said. “I was locked in on something else at the time. I actually called down to the bullpen to get (Hansel) Robles going and, yes, obviously not a great moment. But I’m more concerned right now about everything that went on in the game, and the result and what happened and a little less so on that. But that’s what happened.”

The Twins led 2-0 when Berrios walked Cesar Hernandez to lead off the sixth. That triggered a trip from Johnson, who often comes out to discuss matters with his pitchers. Berrios got the next two hitters before former Twin Eddie Rosario doubled to left to score Hernandez from second. Franmil Reyes then singled to right to plate Rosario and tie the score.

Baldelli trotted out to the mound, meaning that he had no option but to remove Berrios. Baldelli, like the majority of managers, makes pitching changes for his team, so it wasn’t a surprise to see him out there. What was a surprise was when he said something to Berrios and began to return to the dugout.

Berrios, who was at 83 pitches, said Baldelli asked him if he wanted to face the next hitter. Berrios said he told Baldelli, “‘Sure, I want him,’ but both of us forgot that Wes (had come out) already, so that’s why he had to take me out.”

Robles entered and got Josh Naylor to ground to shortstop Andrelton Simmons to end the inning and the Twins took a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth on Luis Arraez’s single that scored Jake Cave. Cleveland tied it in the bottom of the inning on Jose Ramirez’s home run off reliever Tyler Duffey, and Jordan Luplow ended it with a two-run homer off Alex Colome in the bottom of the 10th inning.

It was the latest frustrating loss for a Twins team that has specialized in them this April — Minnesota is 0-5 in extra innings — but it also included a Baldelli blunder we aren’t likely to see again.