Sudden and unexplained gusts of wind have been used as story changers forever in Hollywood movies, often reversing time or transforming the personality of a lead character.
In the middle of Friday night's game at Target Field, there was such a burst of wind. Without warning, there were hot dog wrappers swirling through the stands, and everything not weighted down blowing through the press box, and players looking skyward in obvious confusion.
"There was stuff flying around the dugout," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We weren't sure what was going on."
The wind settled somewhat, but it had served its purpose. There was a big change in the story line in the offing.
Brandon Kintzler came in with a 3-1 lead in the ninth, two ground balls went for hits and a chopper for an out, and then Chris Young hit a rocket past third for a two-run, game-tying single.
Boston's Matt Barnes retired hot-hitting Eddie Rosario and pinch hitter Kennys Vargas to open the bottom of the ninth, and then came Joe Mauer, batting second rather than what had been his unconventional presence at fourth in recent games.
It was noted in the press box that Mauer was batting .233 at that moment. His previous at-bat had been a six-hopper that didn't make it to first base. Somewhere in the script, as the hardcore fans chewed cigars (it's Hollywood) and shouted, "Hey Mauer, you bum, swing the bat," a big-eyed 8-year-old in his Twins hat closed his eyes and offered a prayerful, "You can do it, Joe. Hit a homer."
On a 2-2 count, Boston reliever Matt Barnes decided to blow a high fastball past Mauer, and here came that whip of Joe's bat from 2009, and the fastball was launched toward deep left-center, and the baseball stayed in a mighty, slow-motion fight with the swirling wind as voices rose in hope, and then it was sailing into the bullpen, and there was joy and that dewy-eyed kid shouting to his father, "I knew Joe was going to do it."
Thank you, Preston Sturges. I know you wrote this. The mystery wind was the tipoff.
Read Patrick Reusse's blog at startribune.com/patrick. E-mail him at email@example.com.