MINNEAPOLIS — Eddie Rosario could have been the hero for the Twins on Sunday, but if that had been the case we would have been deprived of the complete Eddie Rosario Experience.
What does that experience entail? A little bit of everything.
In the Twins’ 10-8 loss to the Tigers at Target Field, that included nearly throwing out a runner at home in the second inning (catcher Willians Astudillo failed to hold onto the ball); nearly robbing Grayson Greiner of an eighth inning home run that gave the Tigers an 8-7 lead (the ball deflected off Rosario’s glove as he leapt over the fence in left field); and an RBI single in the sixth and a solo home run in the eighth.
So we’re done, right? Not even close.
The true Rosario Experience — the plays that if there had been fans at Target Field would have left them cheering one second and grabbing their heads the next — came in the form of two head-scratching decisions.
— SKOR North (@SKORNorth) September 6, 2020
The first happened in the Twins’ four-run fifth inning in which they took a 6-2 lead. After Luis Arraez doubled to drive in Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sano walked, Rosario took a four-pitch walk from Tigers reliever Rony Garcia to load the bases. Rookie Brent Rooker doubled to left scoring Arraez and Sano. After third base coach Tony Diaz had waved in Sano, he attempted to turn his attention to Rosario.
What Diaz found was Rosario heading toward him at full speed with no intention of slowing. Diaz, in a move of self-preservation, got out of the way as Rosario headed home. Shortstop Willi Castro took the relay from left fielder Jorge Bonifaco and threw home to Greiner to get Rosario at the plate.
It was the first out of the inning and helped to short circuit what could have been a huge inning. Rooker eventually scored on Jake Cave’s single, but Rosario also would have scored easily from third if he had stayed put.
“We did chat with Eddie after the inning and he just said he didn’t see Tony in time,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “That’s something that does happen and there were a lot of people running around in a small space. I think that could definitely play out. Eddie usually does err on the side of aggression on the bases. Knowing our players and knowing how they generally take the field is part of it, too. We’d prefer that he get a better look at Tony and be able to hold up there but he said he just couldn’t see him so that’s really part of the game. Stuff like that does play out like that sometimes.”
— Tom Froemming (@TFTwins) September 6, 2020
The Rosario Experience wasn’t done. Three batters after nearly robbing Greiner of his home run off Sergio Romo in the eighth, Rosario pursued a shot hit down the left field line by Jonathan Schoop. The ball bounced fair in the dirt and caromed off the limestone that is out of play at Target Field. Or is it? Technically, in this situation, a fair ball that hits the limestone and comes back into play is a live ball and, thus, as Rosario waited for the umpire to signal that it was a ground-rule double, Victor Reyes scored from first base and Schoop didn’t stop until he got to third.
Just like the broadcast crew, I'm not certain of Target Field's ground rules in this scenario.
I am sure, however, that when you cost your team a run with a baserunning blunder you need to be on your best behavior the rest of the game. Finish the play, Rosie. pic.twitter.com/qrsrBL0E8d
— Tom Froemming (@TFTwins) September 6, 2020
Baldelli did not come out to argue the call because he knew the ground rule at his home ballpark. We are now assuming that a confused Rosario also is aware of the rule.
By the way, for everyone wondering about that play with Rosario: A bouncing ball that hits off the limestone in left field is IN PLAY, not an automatic double.
It's specifically stipulated in the stadium's ground rules. pic.twitter.com/GbSigRfo3Q
— Do-Hyoung Park (@dohyoungpark) September 6, 2020
“It’s a very unusual setup but those are the ground rules,” Baldelli said. “I think in the heat of the moment, when the game’s going on and the ball appears to bounce up off the field and hit anything and (then) stay in play, there are few situations where that is the case, where the ball is live. But this is one of those places. I believe it’s the first time that I’ve seen it in person over the last two years. It’s not a play that happens very much. Eddie’s been here, I’m guessing six seasons, and he said he’s never seen that before. We shouldn’t assume anything. We should probably go over that again just to make sure. Who knows if that will pop up again? Even though it hasn’t popped up in probably years, it could happen again tomorrow. So, we’ll be ready.”