KANSAS CITY, MO. – Ron Gardenhire knew there was a good chance he was going to get thrown out because of a replay challenge Tuesday. But he was astounded by the reason why.
The Twins manager watched Kyle Gibson hold Kansas City to two hits over seven innings on Tuesday and collect the victory in a 2-1 decision over the Royals. But Gardenhire did it from his office, where he was banished by home plate umpire Ted Barrett for arguing about a missed call that was compounded, not corrected, by replay officials in New York.
“Gibson just stayed within himself. He had good command of his pitches,” Gardenhire said of the righthander’s strong seven-inning performance. “I had a great view of it.”
Replay officials are supposed to have a great view of controversial plays, too, but the Twins insist that the call on Alex Gordon’s sliding catch was butchered, a mistake made worse by a system that doesn’t allow managers to get an explanation.
The play in question ended the Twins’ third inning, but not before Gardenhire came out to ask for a replay review of Gordon’s catch, or trap, of a Chris Parmelee sinking liner to short left. As the teams waited out an unusually long delay while umpires in New York examined the video evidence, a replay on the Kauffman Stadium scoreboard seemed to show that the ball hit the ground a split-second before Gordon gloved it.
“I came in here and looked at it [after being ejected], and I just don’t get it,” Gardenhire said. “We saw it plain as day. They showed it on the Jumbotron. … It was pretty obvious. When we’ve got a replay like that, I don’t get it.”
Gardenhire was prepared to argue because he believed the delay was caused by a debate over where to place Brian Dozier, who the manager said was rounding third base on the play. He was going to risk ejection to argue that Dozier should be allowed to score.
“I thought that was exactly what was happening,” Gardenhire said. “I was shocked when they said, ‘He’s out.’ ”
Not too shocked to rely on his instincts and rush to the plate, pointing at the scoreboard. Barrett ordered him back to the dugout — under replay rules, managers may not argue a play once the challenge has been ruled upon — and quickly thumbed him with career ejection No. 71, and fourth this season, when the Twins manager ignored the order. The two jawed angrily at each other until Gardenhire finally left.
“I don’t understand that part of it — I get no explanation. That’s a part that a lot of managers are trying to find out here: What did they see?” Gardenhire said. “I know they don’t want [replay delays] to go any longer. [Barrett] threw me out really quick; he was really hot. I think the umpires get frustrated knowing I can’t talk to them. Teddy threw me out pretty quick there, and told me he didn’t have to tell me anything.”
The controversial play distracted from, but could not overshadow, a strong bounce-back performance by Gibson, who missed his last start because of a back injury. The righthander, who had allowed six or more runs in three of his previous five starts, struck out seven over seven innings, and gave up only two singles. He faced the minimum 13 hitters into the fifth inning, and never allowed a runner to reach third base. He even picked Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar off first base to end the third inning with a flourish.
That enabled him to earn his eighth victory (with help from Casey Fien and Glen Perkins), even though the Twins were limited to a pair of runs largely produced by Danny Santana’s speed.
“I feel like I made a little better pitches in important situations,” Gibson said. “It’s a small difference between struggling and having a good outing.”