Chris Gimenez tried to move Eduardo Escobar up a base in the ninth inning, but it didn’t work.
After Alex Gordon dropped Escobar’s deep fly ball on the warning track to lead off the inning, Gimenez watched a 99-mph fastball from Brandon Maurer go by, then had an idea: Bunt.
“I did it on my own,” Gimenez said of squaring around, something he’s done successfully twice this year and four times in each of the past two seasons. “[Maurer] is a tough guy to get on top of, to hit a ball to the right side,” so he figured a bunt was a better play to try to move Escobar to third with only one out.
But Gimenez popped the bunt foul, on a 98-mph fastball, and “we decided it wasn’t the right play. … Joe [Vavra, managing the team after Paul Molitor was ejected] said, no more.”
It didn’t go much better for the catcher when he swung away. He fouled off a 99-mph fastball, but chased a 90-mph slider that he couldn’t reach. “That was a really good pitch,” Gimenez said. “He made a great pitch in that situation.”
He made more against Ehire Adrianza, who flew out to center, and Brian Dozier, who popped to second, ending the game and earning Maurer his first save as a Royal.
Asked whether Sunday’s back-and-forth game in front of a big crowd had a postseason feel to it, Twins manager Paul Molitor, a veteran of 29 postseason games, put the brakes on that kind of talk.
“I don’t think it’s a postseason feel yet,” the manager said. “These games are meaningful, but … compared to Sept. 3, it can grow somewhat exponentially as you get near the end, and October.”