The Twins contend that Justin Haley did not intentionally throw at JaCoby Jones on Saturday. But a pitch got away from the righthander, leading to a gruesome scene in the third inning as a bleeding Jones had to be helped from the field and taken straight to a nearby hospital.
Miguel Sano doesn’t understand why Tigers lefthander Matthew Boyd threw behind him.
“You don’t have a reason to hit me,” Sano said. “No one wants to hit people in the face. That’s not true. That guy, if they say he’s somebody then they hit him in the leg or shirt or something. But never in the face.”
Sano later shoved Tigers catcher James McCann for putting his mitt in his face and was ejected in the fifth inning. With Sano gone, the Twins went on to lose a generally poorly pitched, poorly defended game 5-4 to Detroit.
Joe Mauer, batting in Sano’s spot, struck out to end the game with Brian Dozier on first base.
There were nine walks issued by pitchers. There were two errors committed by the Twins and a botched foul ball catch attempt by Tigers first baseman John Hicks, called up earlier Saturday to fill in for injured Miguel Cabrera.
Mauer scored on Robbie Grossman’s single to make it 3-3. Detroit responded with two runs in the sixth to put the game away. Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez gave up a pinch-hit home run to Jason Castro in the ninth to add more drama and push the time of the game to exactly four hours — tied for the fifth-longest nine-inning game in Twins history.
“It certainly was a long game,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “A lot of dips and turns.”
Yet Saturday’s game will be remembered for two things: the sight of Jones, his face covered by a towel that was turning red, and Sano touching off a bench-clearing scrum.
Jones was taken in for a CT scan. Haley, was placed on the 10-day disabled list after the game because of biceps tendinitis, sent messages to Jones after the incident and hoped to speak with him on Sunday.
“That is not a place where you want to miss,” Haley said.
Jones was placed on the 10-day disabled list because of a lip laceration that required nine stitches.
“It’s one of those things, man,” Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos said. “Our center fielder got hit in the face. You know? We’re looking at him. He’s got blood dripping down from him. That’s not a good thing to look at. So however you want to take that you can take it.”
You could hear the pages of the unwritten rules of baseball being turned.
Sano batted with one out and the Twins trailing 3-2. Boyd’s first pitch went behind Sano, prompting him to yell and point at Boyd. As McCann and home plate umpire Jordan Baker moved in to keep Sano from moving toward the mound, Sano and McCann bumped, with McCann’s mitt hitting Sano in the face. Sano appeared to swing at McCann, hitting him in his chest.
“Nah, it was just a shove,” Sano said.
The dugouts and bullpens emptied as Baker tossed Sano from the game. Sano, who expects to be suspended for his actions, feels that McCann should have been ejected as well.
After order was restored, the umpires met before the decision was made to eject Boyd as well.
“The pitcher was ejected for intentionally throwing at Sano, in our judgment,” crew chief Mike Everitt said in a statement. “Sano was ejected for throwing a punch at McCann.”