KANSAS CITY, MO. – Paul Molitor had about two hours to compose himself, and reflect on recent events, following his second ejection of the season on Saturday.
It occurred during the fourth inning of the Twins 10-3 loss to Kansas City, which extended their road losing streak to eight games and put them in danger of being swept in the four-game series at Kauffman Stadium
By the time media were allowed in the clubhouse following the game, Molitor still had not looked at replays of what triggered his anger. Both he and third base coach Gene Glynn were tossed for arguing balls and strikes, and Molitor realized by then why he got the boot.
“Mine was justified,” Molitor said, “In terms of I went outside the boundaries.”
The Royals took a 6-1 lead in that inning and kept adding on as the Twins fell to 8-29 on the road since June 29. Kansas City pounded the Twins pitching staff for 16 hits, the eighth time this season the Twins have given up that many.
Tempers boiled over during the fourth. With a runner on first, Alcides Escobar lofted a fly ball down the right field line, near the foul pole. Twins right fielder Max Kepler raced to the spot but pulled up just before the wall. The ball bounced just inside the foul line and bounced away as Rosell Herrera scored and Escobar chugged into third.
Catcher Cam Gallagher came to the plate, and the Royals attempted a squeeze. But the 1-0 pitch from Chase De Jong was low, and Gallagher appeared to pull his bat back. Escobar had started for home but now was well off third. Twins catcher Willians Astudillo noticed that and threw to third.
Escobar then broke for home. Gregorio Petit tried to throw home, but hit Escobar in the back for an error. The run scored to make it 4-1.
Meanwhile, the Twins dugout was yelling at home plate umpire Ben May that Gallagher offered at the ball and it should have been called a strike. They appealed to first base umpire Cory Blaser, who ruled that Gallagher pulled his bat back in time.
Molitor took to the top step of the dugout to complain — and arguing balls and strikes is a no-no, so May tossed Molitor.
“We didn’t execute the play, and that’s probably why my emotions were kind of high anyway,” Molitor said. “They gave us an out there and [a chance to] take a runner out of scoring position but we can’t execute.
“So I didn’t even bother to look at it. … I wasn’t happy at the time and I stepped out of the dugout, which you can’t do on a ball and strike. That’s why I got tossed as quickly as I did.”
The Royals led 6-1 by the end of the inning, then added two runs in both the sixth and seventh. Alex Gordon went 3-for-5 with five RBI, one shy of his career high, and is batting .357 against the Twins over the last 22 games.
While bench coach Derek Shelton replaced Molitor, Rudy Hernandez replaced Glynn at first while Jeff Smith moved to third.
And why was Glynn tossed?
“That one is a little bit more of a mystery,” Molitor said.
Glynn apparently made a bunting motion toward Blaser, which Blaser took exception to.
“The first base umpire, for whatever reason, wasn’t in the mood to take anything,” Molitor said.