The play didn’t seem that remarkable, but it’s certainly rare. When Cameron Maybin broke for home after Jason Castro threw to second base to try to get Kole Calhoun, the Twins had little chance of preventing him from scoring. Brian Dozier tried, but Maybin is one of the fastest players in the league, as his AL-leading 25 stolen bases attest.
“We just didn’t execute the two throws quickly enough,” Paul Molitor said of the play. Simple enough.
Turns out, though, that nobody has stolen home against the Twins since Brian Daubach of the White Sox on April 27, 2003. That’s more than 14 years ago — heck, Daubach’s been retired for 12 years. So while fans may not realize it, they saw something extremely rare in Thursday.
That Maybin’s feat was part of a double steal makes it a little less rare than a straight steal of home, when the runner at third simply tries to beat the pitch to the plate. That hasn’t happened since May 26, 2000, when Scarborough Green of Texas pulled it off against Eric Milton.
Daubach’s feat came in a game similar to Wednesday’s, a 3-0 White Sox victory. But from the account in the Star Tribune the next day, written by someone named La Velle E. Neal III, it doesn’t sound like it was much of a “stolen base.”
“Tony Graffanino struck out on a 3-2 pitch with runners on first and third,” Neal wrote. “Catcher A.J. Pierzynski tried to throw out Carlos Lee, who was running to second with the pitch. The throw popped out of Chris Gomez’s glove and skipped into the outfield, allowing Brian Daubach to score from third.”
The Twins last stole home as part of a double steal on Aug. 2, 2013, when Clete Thomas pulled it off against Houston. But it’s been two decades since the Twins have had a straight steal of home — Rich Becker did it in Cleveland on Sept. 27, 1997.
Ervin Santana has twice as many complete games this season as any other pitcher in the majors, but his fourth of the season on Wednesday required Paul Molitor to allow Santana to throw more pitches than he has all season.
Santana’s final pitch, forcing a groundout by Cliff Pennington, was his 117th of the game, a new season high for the Twins. It’s only the fourth time in Molitor’s managerial career that he’s allowed a pitcher — Santana, actually, in three of the four — to throw that many. Santana threw 119 pitches against the Astros, in only eight innings, last Aug. 5, the most ever allowed under Molitor. In fact, no pitcher has thrown more than that since 2011, when Nick Blackburn threw 127.
What’s amazing, though, is that Santana threw 80 of those pitches for strikes, the most by a Twins pitcher since Phil Hughes was did it three times during the 2014 season.
Santana became the first Twins pitcher to throw a complete-game loss since … Santana, of course, against the Braves last July 26.