Two extras after the Twins salvaged a split of their four-game series:
As if he hasn’t done enough lately, Eddie Rosario, just one day after dropping a fly ball, made the defensive play of the game on Thursday.
With two outs and White Sox catcher Omar Narvaez on second base in the fifth inning, Jose Rondon belted a line drive near the left field line. As Rosario raced over to cut it off, Narvaez slowed near third base, then saw coach Daryl Boston waving him home.
“The play developed slowly, and when the ball [was] hit, I didn’t think we were going to have a chance,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “But as it unfolded, [Rosario] saw the play, he saw the distance, he made an accurate throw. If he throws it high or throws it wide, and the trail runner gets to second, your’e going to wonder why he did it. But he threw it on the money.”
He did, and he did it by telling himself to calm down, slow down, keep your mechanics in order.
“I don’t try to do too much,” Rosario said. “I want to try to catch the ball first, then get in good position to throw to home plate.”
The out ended the inning and preserved Jose Berrios’ shutout for one more inning.
Narvaez, a catcher without much speed, didn’t learn his lesson, though. When he singled near the right field line in the seventh inning, he decided to make it a double, even though the White Sox trailed by five runs. Robbie Grossman got to the ball quickly and made a strong throw to get him at second.
Narvaez’s adventures marked the ninth and 10th runners thrown out by Twins outfielders this season — and the seventh in just the past 14 games.
James Shields made his 12th start at Target Field on Thursday, tying him with Rick Porcello for the most by a visiting pitcher in the stadium’s nine-year history. Shields, who has pitched for the Rays, Royals, Padres and White Sox over a 13-year career, has started 26 games overall against Minnesota. Though he lasted six innings in order to save the Chicago bullpen, he’s now 8-10 against the Twins, becoming the 51st pitcher to lose 10 against the franchise, though that’s only half of Frank Tanana’s 20 losses.
Shields allowed three home runs on Thursday, to Eddie Rosario, Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza, none of whom were among the six current Twins who have homered against him before. They also ballooned Shields’ total to 12 home runs allowed in Target Field, passing John Danks (11) for most in the ballpark’s history.
Do the Twins have an advantage in seeing a pitcher so many times? “It depends on the person,” Molitor said. “If you have a track record against people and you have a good idea what he’s going to do, it’s probably going to work to your advantage.”