A handful of extras from a frustrating night for the Twins in Comerica Park:
— It had to be fun for Torii Hunter to rob his former team of a game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth by making a long run and a shoe-top grab of a fly ball near the right-field line. It was certainly fun for his pitcher and manager.
“Torii was like Superman, coming in there to get it just in time,” said Blaine Boyer, whose scoreless-innings streak was kept intact by the play. “It was awesome.”
Added Twins manager Paul Molitor, “a lot has been said about his defense, about defensive metrics, but he closed on that ball very well, and gave us one more inning to have a chance to win the game.”
— Molitor has heard Twins fans worrying that Kyle Gibson, like most of the team’s pitching staff, doesn’t strike out enough hitters. So “it was nice to see him finish some people off tonight,” the manager said. Gibson struck out one batter through the first five innings, then whiffed five of the last six hitters he faced for a season-high total of six. Why did they all come at the end? “I think it’s just a product of me establishing my fastball early,” Gibson said, “and then being able to throw some good off-speed there at the end.”
Gibson also showed off some athleticism by covering first base in the fifth inning and scooping up a throw from Danny Santana to finish off a 3-6-1 double play. Gibson had to stretch to catch the off-line throw, but kept his foot on the bag. Anthony Gose was originally called safe, but the play was overruled on Molitor’s managerial challenge.
“We’ve seen Gibby make some very athletic plays on the mound,” Molitor said. “Danny had to fire that ball, he threw it right into the ground, and for Kyle to pick it and keep his foot on the base, it was very athletic.”
— Molitor, by the way, is now 6-for-7 when he challenges an umpire’s call.
— The game should never have gone to extra innings, Trevor Plouffe said, and perhaps his baserunning was one reason why. Plouffe walked to open the second inning, and was quickly around second base when Kurt Suzuki doubled to deep left-center. “I picked up the direction of the ball, but I didn’t really see the ball,” Plouffe said. “It kind of froze my stride.” He’s not certain if third-base coach Gene Glynn would have waved him around third had he still been running top-speed, but it’s not likely he would have taken such a risk with no outs. Besides, Plouffe didn’t think it would matter. “I was OK with it, because I knew we had some chances to score coming up next,” Plouffe said. But Alfredo Simon struck out Kennys Vargas, Eduardo Escobar and Aaron Hicks to strand him and Suzuki. “In retrospect,” Plouffe said, “I wish I had tried to score.”