The Target Field batter's eye in center field is 36 feet high and several feet behind the center field wall. It takes quite a poke to clear it.
On Sunday, it was within Jim Thome's range.
Thome energized the crowd with a two-run homer in the eighth inning Sunday that cleared the batter's eye for one highlight in what turned out to be 5-3 loss to Oakland. For the future Hall of Famer, it was career homer No. 590. The two-run shot also gave him 1,629 RBI, moving him past Harold Baines and into 29th on baseball's career list.
It also led to some second-guessing, because many in the press box felt the ball traveled farther than the announced 444 feet. The Twins baseball communications department has a map of the stadium with distance markers throughout the outfield to help with estimates.
Still, it's always fun to argue about how far a baseball was hit.
Thome was asked if it was one of the longest home runs he's hit.
"It was right there," Thome said.
Doesn't 444 feet seem a little short?
"I don't know," Thome said. "I wish it would have tied the game."
Casilla back in there
Shortstop Alexi Casilla took Saturday's loss hard. He failed to drive in a runner from third base with no outs in the fifth, then his throwing error in the sixth allowed the only run of the game to score.
"He felt like he lost the game," manager Ron Gardenhire said.
But Gardenhire had Casilla back at short Sunday. Gardenhire didn't want to make Casilla feel worse by benching him, but also reminded him that a few other players could have stepped up Saturday and made it easier for everyone.
"I said, 'Just understand one thing, son,'" Gardenhire said. "It's we.'"
Casilla was 0-for-2 with a strikeout Sunday, after going 1-for-2 Saturday.
RBI series to Twin Cities
The Twins and Major League Baseball will announce Monday that the Revitalizing Baseball and Softball in Inner Cities (RBI) program will hold its 2011 and 2012 World Series at Target Field.
Twins owner Jim Pohlad, Hennepin County Board Chairperson Mike Opat, Twins great Tony Oliva and Twins outfielder Denard Span will be among those on hand for the announcement.
The news conference is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and will take place at home plate of Target Field.
The RBI program, in its 22nd year, seeks to build interest in baseball and softball in cities across the nation. MLB expects about 200,000 children nationwide to participate in the program this year.
• Before the game, Joe Mauer received his Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards. His grandfather, Jake, threw out the first pitch.
• The Minnesota Duluth men's hockey team that won the NCAA title over Michigan on Saturday at Xcel Energy Center was honored before Sunday's game.
• Michael Cuddyer appeared at second base Sunday for the 63rd time in his career. It was his 48th start there.