The final score was 6-2 on Thursday, and this little-noticed edge — Gene Glynn 2, Bobby Dickerson 0 — may have been the reason why.
Those are the Twins’ and Orioles’ third-base coaches, one of whom had a great night and the other a frustrating one.
Baltimore whacked four hits off Kyle Gibson in the fourth inning, but scored only one run because two players were tagged out in plays at the plate. The Twins also had a four-hit inning, but theirs produced four runs, and the margin of victory, because while they also had two close plays at home, both runners were safe.
“It was huge,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “They had a potential big inning.”
They did, but it was foiled by their baserunning. Already leading 2-1, Baltimore got a leadoff single by Chris Davis, followed by Mark Trumbo’s double to center. But when Jonathan Schoop bounced a grounder to third base, Davis broke for the plate and Eduardo Escobar didn’t hesitate. His throw home easily beat Davis, and Juan Centeno tagged him out.
But one runner cut down wasn’t enough.
Pedro Alarez then grounded a ball through the hole between first and second base, and Max Kepler came charging in from right field. Trumbo rounded third and tried to speed up, but Kepler unleashed a one-hop throw that Centeno caught in front of the plate and whirled to put the tag on him. It was Kepler’s fifth assist of the season, which leads the Twins. And it was such a big pair of plays, it helped salve the fact that J.J. Hardy then drove in Schoop with a single to left.
“Escobar cutting that ball off and needing to make an accurate throw, which he did. Kepler charging the ball, getting the ball online, that was the biggest thing to give us a chance,” Molitor said. “They were still able to capitalize, but it could have been a lot more damage there.”
The Twins did their own damage in the seventh, when with the game tied, Robbie Grossman lined a one-out double. Joe Mauer was intentionally walked, and Brian Dozier followed with a stinging liner to left field. Glynn waved Grossman home, and he reached under Caleb Joseph’s tag with his left hand to score the tie-breaking run.
Kepler then grounded a pitch from Chaz Roe into right field, and this time it was Mauer sliding home, feet-first, just ahead of the tag, to make it 4-2. The game was broken open when Eddie Rosario mashed a pitch over center fielder Adam Jones’ head, a triple that scored Dozier and Kepler.