What seemed like a pair of catchable fly balls turned into adventures for the Minnesota Twins in right field — and two crucial runs for the Detroit Tigers.
The winning run in the Tigers’ 4-3 victory came one batter after Twins right fielder Oswaldo Arcia dropped a deep fly ball off the bat of Detroit’s Victor Martinez. The Tigers slugger was slow out of the batter’s box, seemingly thinking his fly to right was enough for a walk-off, two-run homer.
Instead, the ball stayed in the park by a few feet but bounced out of Arcia’s glove at the warning track. That error allowed Detroit’s Torii Hunter to go from first to third with just one out in the bottom of the ninth inning in a 3-all game.
The next Tigers batter, J.D. Martinez, hit a shallow fly to center field. Minnesota’s Sam Fuld caught it for the second out, but his throw to home plate was way off as Hunter slid in safely for the winning run. That lifted Detroit to a series win as the Tigers took two of three from Minnesota. The Twins, meanwhile, will be left thinking about their missed opportunity to win a series.
"We just missed a play," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "When you miss a play, you get beat."
Earlier in the game, Arcia lost sight of a fly ball to right with two outs in the bottom of the first inning when Victor Martinez hit one to right. The ball dropped on the warning track, allowing Martinez to scamper to second while Ian Kinsler scored easily from third base for the first run of the afternoon.
"Arcia didn’t see the ball. It was obvious he had no clue where the ball went," Gardenhire said. "I think even you saw Joe Mauer, a ball hit toward first base and he never saw it. It was obviously a tough sun out there, and bright. So they didn’t see it. You can’t do much about that. If you can’t see the ball, you can’t see the ball."
Despite that misplay and the early deficit, Minnesota was able to rally and eventually took a 3-2 lead with a three-run sixth inning. Kurt Suzuki’s single to center scored designated hitter Kendrys Morales to put the Twins ahead, but that lead was short-lived as the Tigers tied it back up on a Nick Castellanos double in the bottom half of the inning.
With set-up man Casey Fien on to pitch the ninth in a tie game, Hunter singled to left to lead off the bottom half of the inning. Fien got Miguel Cabrera to line out sharply to shortstop Danny Santana for a big first out. That’s when Martinez lifted his deep fly ball to right field. Once it was apparent that the ball was still in the park, it appeared as if Arcia had it in his glove for the second out, bringing Minnesota within one out of extra innings.
Instead, it was the second error of the year for Arcia, and it proved to be a big one. J.D. Martinez’s fly ball to center would have been the third out if not for that miscue. Instead, it turned out to provide the game-winning RBI.
With the walk-off loss, the Twins fall to 32-35 after winning the first game of this three-game series. Despite an ugly 12-9 final Saturday, Minnesota had a chance to come back Sunday and take the series at Comerica Park. Instead, the Twins now try to turn things around with a three-game series in Boston before heading back to Target Field for a brief homestand beginning Thursday.