Brian Dozier was only a couple of steps past second base Sunday when he received Gene Glynn’s go-ahead. Dozier’s stride grew longer as he churned around third base and passed Glynn’s windmilling arm, sending him home.
“His chances of scoring right there were just like on a base hit, I thought,” Glynn said of his instant, and daring, decision. “When he was part way around second, I thought he had a really good chance, so nothing made me stop him.”
The baseball beat him to home plate but was 6 feet up the first-base line, so White Sox catcher Kevan Smith caught it and dived headfirst, arms reaching toward home plate, almost at the same moment Dozier did the same from the other side.
Dozier’s left hand brushed across home plate a split-second before Smith could get there. And suddenly Dozier’s 119th career home run stood apart from all the others: the product of his speed, not his power.
“When I saw his hand waving, I saw him really excited. … I put it in a different gear,” said the Twins leadoff hitter. “I was kind of surprised [since there were] no outs, but you take shots. It worked out.”
Even Paul Molitor wasn’t sure that Dozier would try it, even after his deep fly ball in front of the bullpens deflected off Jacob May’s glove and bounced down the warning track toward straightaway center. “No outs, you don’t want to be overly aggressive,” Molitor said. “But the relay man was a long way out there, and Gino made the right call. It was an exciting play.”
A rare one, too. The Twins had two inside-the-park home runs last year, by Eduardo Nunez and Byron Buxton. There have been only five in Target Field history, Nunez’s the only one by a Twin.
Not bad for a player who missed Saturday’s game because of a bruised knee. But Dozier texted Molitor Easter morning to assure his manager he was healthy again, then proved it by running for the trainers and coaches, Glynn included, before the game.