Down by 14 with two outs in the ninth inning, the Minnesota Twins attempted a late comeback on Sunday afternoon by sending up five players in a row - four of which had spent time of the organization's triple-A affiliate this season. It was a bold strategy, but nevertheless it was seen as a ground breaking philosophy by manager Ron Gardenhire.
"Heck, we'd just won four in a row. I didn't think the guys were up to making it five so I coached them down a little bit," the manager said. "But down by 14 in the ninth inning, well, they just had a dejected look about 'em. So I managed up a new in-game philosophy."
With Alexi Casilla standing on first base and Joe Mauer the only professional hitter due up until Denard Span at the top of the order, Ben Revere began to turn the baseball world upside down by earning a walk. It was his second since his return to the Majors but just his third on the season.
"My contact skills being what they are, and with my lack of power, the best thing I can do to increase my offensive value is to get on base a bit more," Revere said, jumping so he could reach the towel at the top of his locker. "So I thought, heck, if this guy can't hit the strike zone, I just won't swing. Twitter!"
Joe Mauer then followed that up with an infield single, his fourth hit of the day. Twins fans at the park began throwing cups. "I paid $9.50 for this Heineken in a cup, and I expect something extra for that," some drunk guy said as he glared through an inebriated haze at Mauer standing on first. "The team needs runs! We're down 14! What good does a single do us?! By the way, I respect the hell out of," the fan paused for a belch, "Mitch Williams. That guy can analyse the hell out of this game. He's the only reason I watch the MLB Network."
By this time the bases were loaded and, while still down 14 runs, there was a palpable sense throughout Miller Park that the Brewers were on the ropes. Cesar Izturis was so rattled he misplayed a Darin Mastrioanni grounder, which allowed the Twins to keep the bases loaded while closing the gap to 13. Drew Butera then took five pitches, walking to first base and picking up a run batted in. "That time in triple-A really helped me to start taking some quality at-bats," he said before glancing at Mauer and lowering his voice. "My OPS is over .900," he whispered. "I think somebody switched me and Joe up, like in Freaky Friday. Have you seen that?"
Now down just 12 runs, rookie Brian Dozier blatantly disregarded his manager's new tactics and popped up to end the game.
"I think he just missed the sign," said Gardenhire, who was still ashen. "We had that game. We had it. But sometimes, when you're dealing with rookies, they miss some things."