Had the Twins lost last night, the chief blame would have gone to closer Glen Perkins, who couldn't hold down a 6-3 lead in the ninth -- instead surrendering a 3-run homer on an 0-2 pitch with two outs to send the game into extra innings.
The next culprit could have been us. As Perkins worked to L.J. Hoes, we were so confident Perk would close things out that we prepared a "Perkins got Hoes" tweet -- a delicious if immature double entendre. We had our finger on the send button, but Hoes singled to right, the homer followed, and we considered it a jinx even if it never was published.
The third culprit, though? Why, that would have been a decision in the 11th inning to have Brian Dozier attempt a sacrifice bunt with no outs, a runner on first and the score tied 6-6.
Dozier had already homered in the game, and that was not a fluke. In fact, there is a good reason he is now batting in the No. 3 spot in the order (outside of sheer desperation): Dozier has the most extra base hits in all of MLB since June 28, or at least he did as of gametime yesterday. Yes, more than Miguel Cabrera. More than anyone. He has 36 of them -- 10 homers, 24 doubles and two show-off doubles. He is slugging .502 in that span.
There is no earthly reason he should be ordered to bunt, as it seemed he was. Two failed attempts later, he was in an 0-2 hole. He ended up JUST missing a hanger, driving it deep to left-center, far enough that the runner could advance to second on a tag-up. The Twins didn't end up scoring, and taking two strikes away from their best and most productive overall hitter for much of the season played a role.
Sabermetric folks will debate the merits of a sacrifice bunt regardless of the hitter and regardless of the situation. If it was Doug Bernier, we have far less of a problem with it. But if you are going to treat Dozier like a middle-of-the-order threat, which he has earned, you can't try to take the bat out of his hands.