Exactly one week after a who-offended-who debate was triggered by a long home run in the same ballpark, the Twins sounded far more willing to appreciate the enthusiasm of a different young opponent.
Maybe because they joined in on the festivities.
DJ Stewart crushed a 411-foot home run onto the right field plaza in the eighth inning Monday, a blast that turned a 2-1 Twins lead into a 3-2 Orioles margin. It was so well-struck, Stewart took the time to stand and watch the ball leave the park, then tossed his bat toward the Orioles' dugout before finally heading toward first base.
But if the Twins, some of whom took offense when White Sox rookie Yermin Mercedes swung at a 3-0 pitch with an 11-run lead last Monday, were bothered by Stewart's enjoyment of his go-ahead blast, they didn't let it show. It violated no code, they said after rallying for an 8-3 victory.
"Nah, man, that's good baseball. The guy put up a good at-bat. He had a good piece of hitting," said catcher Mitch Garver, who stood behind Stewart as he watched. "He got the barrel to it and left the yard, so you kind of just got to tip your hat."
Manager Rocco Baldelli agreed. "I'll be honest, the bat flips, they're kind of off my radar. If you hit a big home run and you flip the bat, more power to you," Baldelli said. "Those are big moments and [players] feel big emotions in those moments. I'm very understanding of that. I kind of like it."
So does Garver. When he came up in the bottom of the inning, he sliced a double into the right field corner, driving in two runs that put the Twins ahead for good. Garver carried the bat with him down the first base line, finally flipping it up in the air in celebration as he neared the base.
Trevor Larnach on the fouled-off squeeze-bunt attempt by Josh Donaldson, whose most recent sacrifice bunt was in 2016: "It was a good idea. I don't think anyone was expecting it. If he got that down, people would have been going crazy."