KANSAS CITY, MO. – Brian Dozier spoke with reporters around 2:40 a.m. Saturday, after the Twins lost 5-4 to the Royals in a game that included a 3-hour, 3-minute rain delay, a 12-minute power delay and 11 innings.
As he spoke, the message board over his shoulder revealed that the bus times to the ballpark for Saturday’s game would be 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., giving the players time to sleep in before returning for Saturday night’s game.
“I’ll be on that 4 p.m. bus,” Dozier said.
Most of the team was.
It took 6 hours, 59 minutes of clock time to complete the game, one in which the Twins trailed 4-1 in the fifth inning but scored three runs to tie the score just before heavy rains fell. If there’s no rally, the game would have been washed out and replayed in its entirely. With the score tied, the sides agreed to wait out the storms and get the game in. There seems to be a growing aversion to playing doubleheaders because of the havoc they can create on a pitching staff.
So the tarp was pulled on at 8:41 p.m. The next pitch was thrown at 11:44.
“I’m more of the mentality of trying to play a game when you can, even if it is late,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “It might have been a little different if we had a day game tomorrow. I don’t like doubleheaders if we can avoid them. I was in touch with head crew chief Bill [Miller] and talked to [Royals General Manager] Dayton Moore a little bit.
“We all thought it was best to play if we got out there some time around midnight.”
The Twins mustered only one hit over 6 ⅔ innings after play resumed.
Kansas City got a runner to second in each of the final four innings and five of the final six before Eric Hosmer came through at 2:15 a.m. with an RBI single off rookie J.T. Chargois.
After all of that …
Dozier on Friday hit his 28th home run — tying his career high set last season — in the third inning. It was Dozier’s seventh consecutive game with a homer against the Royals, the fourth-longest streak for a player against an opponent since 1913. The other three: Ken Griffey Jr. in seven consecutive games against Texas in 1994; Harmon Killebrew in nine in a row against the Kansas City A’s in 1961; and Joe Adcock in nine consecutive against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956.
The rain delay threatened to wash a homer from Dozier’s stat line for the second time in nine days. But losing the game to the Royals, he said, was worse.
“We should have gotten rained out and played two [Saturday],” Dozier said.
With their relievers exhausted, the Twins called up Aldalberto Mejia from Class AAA Rochester and send infielder Kennys Vargas to Rochester. Mejia is the lefthander they received from San Francisco in the Eduardo Nunez trade on July 28.
Mejia ended up pitching Saturday — and was sent back to Rochester after the game.
Mejia, 23, got his chance in the fifth inning when he replaced the ineffective Hector Santiago. Mejia gave up two runs on five hits and a walk. He took a Cristian Colon smash off his left leg in the sixth but got to the ball in time to throw him out at first. He later got out of a bases-loaded jam by getting Salvador Perez to fly out to end the inning.
The Twins will announce the corresponding move Sunday. Righthander Pat Light is a possibility.