CHICAGO – The Twins players showed little life at the plate Wednesday night in losing 6-1 to the White Sox. The coaching staff more than made up for it.
Manager Paul Molitor and third base coach Gene Glynn were ejected during a contentious sixth inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. Their efforts, however, had minimal effect on a Twins team that lost for the fifth time in six games and is in danger of being swept in the three-game series with another loss Thursday.
While their offense sputtered again, the Twins contended White Sox starter James Shields committed a balk by not coming to a complete stop in his motion in the fifth inning with Ehire Adrianza on first base. Glynn brought it up with third base umpire and crew chief Gerry Davis, who disagreed.
“I explained to him it was not a balk,” Davis told a pool reporter. “He said it was a balk. I explained to him it was not a balk, told him I wasn’t sure he knew the definition of what a balk was for a stop.”
The debate continued in the sixth after Brian Dozier’s single sent Eddie Rosario to third. While White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper visited Shields, Glynn brought up the play again and told Davis what he thought of the call.
“The next half-inning he came out, brought it up again,” Davis said. “I told him that was enough. He continued, and I ejected him.”
Glynn, who has been thrown out of games three times in his career, didn’t like how Davis disagreed with him.
“It was simple,” Glynn said. “I respect the umpires 100 percent, all the time. When I asked him about Shields not stopping, he had come back with, I thought, an insulting, sarcastic line to me.”
Play resumed, and Shields attempted to pick Rosario off third by faking a throw to first before throwing to third. But home plate umpire Pat Horberg called a balk on Shields, and Rosario scored what was, for a time, the Twins’ first run of the game.
Not so fast. White Sox manager Rick Renteria approached the umpires and asked them to reconsider the decision. After huddling behind the pitcher’s mound, they ruled Shields took his foot off the rubber in time — and did not commit a balk.
That set off Molitor, who rushed back onto the field, engaged Horberg and was tossed a few seconds later. Afterward, he thought there were too many suspicious things about the move to change the decision.
“I wasn’t particularly happy to hear that they all said that they saw that he had properly disengaged with the rubber,” Molitor said, “because I don’t believe that they did.”
And the Twins players, following two eruptions from their bosses, responded — with more futile offense. The Twins have scored only one run over their past 13 innings — and didn’t score until the ninth inning Wednesday on Adrianza’s RBI single. The loss dropped them 8 1/2 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central.
Twins righthander Kyle Gibson entered Wednesday with a 3.25 ERA but hunting for only his third victory of the season. He shut down the White Sox for three innings, but Chicago scored three in the fourth on an RBI double by Leury Garcia, an RBI single by Tim Anderson and a run-scoring groundout by Omar Narvaez. Jose Abreu homered in the fifth, then Charlie Tilson’s RBI single in the sixth made it 5-0. Avisail Garcia homered in the eighth off Ryan Pressly for Chicago’s final run.
“Yeah, part of the game that I saw,” Molitor said, “we didn’t do particularly well.”