Twins 5, White Sox 4, 10 innings
CHICAGO (AP)—Justin Morneau circled the bases twice, and both times apparent home runs by the Minnesota rookie disappeared when umpires huddled and reversed their original calls.
“It’s tough when you get back in the dugout and the call gets changed and you have to run back out there. It’s a little bit of a letdown,” Morneau said.
But what could have been a day of frustration for Morneau and the Twins still ended up as a winning one.
“The ball, for whatever reason, it came out of his glove and I got another chance and made the best of it,” Jones said.
The Twins won for the 10th time in 12 tries and moved 3 1/2 games ahead of the White Sox in the AL Central.
The game turned on defense—particularly two plays the Twins made and one that the White Sox did not.
With the score at 4-all, Chicago put runners at first and third with one out in the ninth. Joe Borchard hit a hard grounder that third baseman Corey Koskie gloved, and second baseman Michael Cuddyer made a tough turn for an inning-ending double play. Cuddyer had pinch-hit for Luis Rivas in the top half of the inning.
Cristian Guzman drew a leadoff walk in the Twins 10th off Shingo Takatsu (4-2) and moved up on a sacrifice. After Morneau was intentionally walked and Torii Hunter was thrown out trying to bunt, Jones hit a foul fly near the left-field stands.
Valentin ran down the ball and had plenty of time and room, but dropped a backhanded attempt. Two pitches later, Jones followed with a line drive single to left.
“I know I was close. I got right under it and I just dropped it,” said Valentin, who also had a baserunning blunder.
Terry Mulholland (3-3) got the win with a scoreless ninth and Joe Nathan closed for his 28th save. Hunter, a Gold Glove winner in center field, made an outstanding diving catch in the gap on a leadoff drive by Timo Perez in the 10th.
The White Sox could have had a big inning, but with first and second and no outs, Valentin was caught off second and tagged out and Juan Uribe was thrown out trying to steal.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected in the fifth after a drive down the right-field line by Morneau was initially signaled a home run by first-base umpire Matt Hollowell and then changed to a foul ball after umpires huddled.
Replays were inconclusive, appearing to show that the ball landed just foul, but it was not clear if it first grazed the foul pole. The call was changed after an initial argument by White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and right fielder Perez.
Gardenhire said he wasn’t as upset by the calls as he was by the explanation on the second one—that it was overturned because the three umpires other than Hollowell saw it foul.
“I agree getting it right. I disagree with somebody telling me all three had it foul. I know for a fact the guy behind the plate had no clue,” Gardenhire said. “That’s why I got so mad.”
Morneau returned to the plate and flied out.
In the second inning, Morneau hit a fly ball to left that third-base umpire and crew chief Ed Montague ruled a home run. But after an argument from Guillen and left fielder Carlos Lee and a huddle by the umps, the call was changed to a double. Replays showed the ball hit the top of the fence and bounced back into play.
“I will not change a call unless we are 100 percent, 99 percent doesn’t cut it,” Montague said. “You have to be 100 percent on it and that was the vote and we changed it.”
Morneau called it a weird circumstance.
“You never see that happen two times in a game to two different people. You’ll never ever see that again, the same guy gets called back twice,” he said.
Hunter hit an RBI single to score Morneau in the second and then homered to center in the fifth off Esteban Loaiza to put Minnesota up 4-2.
Ben Davis homered for the White Sox in the bottom half to make it 4-3. Perez had a two-run single in the third.
Twins C Joe Mauer, on the disabled list retroactive to July 16, will go to Colorado on Friday and get a second opinion on his sore left knee. Gardenhire said the Twins had no problem with Mauer’s decision.