Minneapolis — They say when you watch a baseball game there is always a chance you are going to see something you’ve never seen before.
A show of hands: How many have seen a situation where the manager asks for a video review in hopes of overturning a call that, if he won, would take a base hit away from his own player?
It happened in the top of the ninth inning in the Tigers 6-5 loss to the Twins Saturday night.
Here’s the set-up:
The Twins roughed up starter Jordan Zimmermann in the third and fourth innings and took a 6-0 lead into the eighth. Right-hander Kyle Gibson, a pitcher the Tigers have feasted on in the past, had subdued them on just three hits through seven.
Then came the eighth and a very sudden five-run uprising by the Tigers.
“We had an opportunity there at the end,” Alex Avila said. “That was fun.”
Alex Presley, who had three hits, ripped an RBI double that chased Gibson. Justin Upton, who earlier robbed Jason Castro of at least a double at the wall and threw out Robbie Grossman at the plate, followed with a three-run home run off the foul pole in left off reliever Taylor Rogers, making it 6-4.
“That ignited the dugout,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “That swing of the bat for a moment shifted the game into our favor.”
James McCann rapped a pinch-hit double. Nick Castellanos hit a ball up the middle that second baseman Brian Dozier fielded slickly and threw to first. Castellanos was called out by first base umpire Will Little, but the Tigers immediately asked for a video review.
Several angles showed that Castellanos beat the throw, but the video evidence wasn’t enough to overturn the call.
“It looked like Nick was safe, or at least it was a tie,” Avila said. “That’s something they have to take a look at, still. Because I think a lot of people are still confused as to what the rules are. There are definitely ways to improve that process.”
Instead of first and third and one out, McCann was on third with two outs. Victor Martinez walked and with Mikie Mahtook up and representing the go-ahead run, the Twins brought in closer Brandon Kintzler.
Mahtook hit a ground ball to third baseman Miguel Sano, who bounced his throw to first base, allowing McCann to score. But Kintzler got Andrew Romine — starting in place of Miguel Cabrera (bruised collarbone) — to the end the eighth.
Then came the perhaps one of the oddest review requests ever.
Jose Iglesias led off the ninth inning with a bullet over the bag at third base, which looked to be a lead-off double. But the ball caromed into short left field where left fielder Eddie Rosario got to it quickly and threw Iglesias out at second base.
“I’m not sure if he went with his head down and didn’t see it, or if he thought he had it beat,” Ausmus said. “He hit the heck out of the ball. Credit Rosario with playing the ball well and making a perfect throw.”
Iglesias wasn’t immediately available for comment after the game.
Ausmus came out and asked third base umpire Tim Timmons and crew chief Jeff Kellogg if that fair-foul call could be reviewed.
“I tried to get it changed to a foul ball,” he said. “So we wouldn’t have an out."
The umpires, though, told Ausmus the call wasn’t reviewable.
“Generally, a ball that’s on the ground in front of the umpire is not reviewable,” he said. “But there are cases where if the umpire’s feet are moving, and his head is moving, they will review it…They told me the rule is it has to be a line drive at their feet — the first hop has to make them move, and that was the second hop.”
Certainly was some out-of-the box thinking, though, to try steal back that out.
"I would rather have an 0-1 count (on Iglesias) than one out," Ausmus said.
Kintzler retired Ian Kinsler and Presley to end the game.