The Twins had to play a bullpen game with a shorthanded bullpen, though it turned out they had plenty of pitching. But Matt Magill left Target Field and hustled to the airport shortly before the game, when word came that his wife Melissa had gone into labor in southern California.
The sudden shorthandedness caught the Twins by surprise. “We talked about when he might have to go, but you can’t control when those things are going to start,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “So we wish him well, and his wife, on their first child. It’s going to be exciting.”
The timing was fortunate, too, for someone in the bullpen, though the Twins won’t reveal who. But they needed a roster spot to add reliever Oliver Drake, who they claimed on waivers Friday. Drake will take Magill’s spot while the expectant father is on the paternity list, and someone will have to be subtracted once he returns.
Drake will set a major-league record once he appears in a game: He’ll be pitching for his fifth team this season.
The Twins’ bullpen was terrific, holding the Royals to just two runs over 5 2/3 innings. Ironically, the runs were given up by Gabriel Moya — who nevertheless was credited with his first career win. Moya, who ended the fourth inning once the first rain delay concluded with a double play, gave up four consecutive hits in the fifth inning, allowing Kansas City to retake the lead.
But Minnesota struck back in the bottom of the inning, and official scorer Gregg Wong credited him with the victory.
Trevor May followed Moya and struck out three of the four hitters he faced. “It was good. We needed a shutdown inning, and he got the job done,” Molitor said. “The velocity was good. He threw a couple of changeups that he left up. But the fastball played today really well.”
After that, Trevor Hildenberger, Taylor Rogers and Fernando Rodney finished off the Royals, retiring the final nine batters in a row.
There were some on-field discussions before the game resumed a second time, mostly involving the condition of the playing field. The grounds crew had difficultly getting the field completely covered, and the infield got soaked, which required extra time to dry it.
“The home plate area was soft,” Molitor said. “Guys were having trouble with their footing.”
There was also some discussion about whether Glenn Sparkman was eligible. The righthander warmed up and KC manager Ned Yost signaled for him just as the rains came and the game was halted. When the game resumed, the Royals wanted to use Jason Adam instead, even though Sparkman had not faced a batter. The umpires allowed the switch, but told Molitor that Sparkman was no longer eligible to pitch in the game.
If that’s the case, Sparkman might be a rare case of a pitcher who was officially in a game in which he never threw a pitch.
Attendance was announced at 22,236, though only several dozen were still in the park at its 12:56 conclusion. The biggest reaction from the crowd came when the Twins announced on their scoreboard that “due to the late hour, and to respect out downtown neighbors, the postgame fireworks have been cancelled.”