Right before Jose Bautista hit his game-winning home run Saturday night, Twins rookie P.J. Walters appeared to catch him looking at strike three. With a 1-2 count, Walters threw a cut-fastball that shows up as a borderline strike on MLB.com’s Gameday feature.
Home-plate umpire D.J. Reyburn called it a ball, and after Walters ran the count full, Bautista lined a hanging slider into the flower pot just above the left-field wall.
The ball bounced off the flowers, and ricocheted off the cement, back onto the field. I know this because I watched several slow-motion replays. The umpires originally awarded Bautista a double, but after reviewing the replay, they gave him a home run.
Asked if he thought the 1-2 pitch should have been called a strike, Walters said, “No, I didn’t think so.”
Asked if he knew it was a home run, he said, “Obviously, I was hoping it didn’t get out, but [the umpires] went in and came out pretty quick, so it was pretty clear.”
Walters had a very solid debut for the Twins, but he was kicking himself for giving up both of his runs with two outs. Bautista has 10 home runs in 10 career games at Target Field, so this was hardly the first time he’s beaten them.
“Full count and nobody on base, two outs, I’m going after him there,” Walters said. “Spun one up there and it got a little too much of the plate. If I get it over to the corner where it’s supposed to be, it’s probably all right.”