The Minnesota Twins lost for the 12th time in 14 games Thursday night, on a night when they went 3-for-17 with men in scoring position and made two key eighth-inning errors. But that wasn't what everybody was talking about after the 10-6 defeat at Texas.
The main story of the evening was when Texas' Roy Oswalt hit Joe Mauer in the back with a 3-0 pitch in the third inning, saying he was trying to work inside. After Minnesota's Scott Diamond threw behind Josh Hamilton in the bottom of the inning, both Diamond and manager Ron Gardenhire were ejected.
The Twins were surprised plate umpire Wally Bell tossed Diamond without issuing a warning, but Bell told a pool reporter he thought Diamond needed to be ejected after throwing near Hamilton's head. Whether the move leads to any disciplinary action from Major League Baseball remains to be seen, but the Twins were already scrambling to remake their pitching staff after the game.
They recalled reliever Kyle Waldrop from Class AAA Rochester, giving them eight relievers for the final three games of a 10-game, three-city road trip. To make room for Waldrop, the Twins sent Matt Carson back to the minors, deciding to carry 13 pitchers instead of a full bench.
If there were an encouraging sign, though, it was that Mauer saw Diamond come to his defense. The catcher had questioned team unity after several players privately criticized the way he dealt with injuries in 2011, but he said after Thursday's game that the players on this year's team look out for one another.
"Guys have each other's backs," Mauer said. "I don't think he was trying to throw it there. It was just, people in this clubhouse have each other's backs, and that's all I can say."