Twins’ Rocco Baldelli rages after controversial call in loss to Blue Jays: ‘I think it was pathetic’

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Minnesota twins Manager Rocco Baldelli was raging following a controversial call during his team’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.

The Twins and Blue Jays, both in the middle of playoff runs, entered the 10th inning. Cavan Biggio was up and hit a pop fly that would send Whit Merrifield rushing for home plate. Merrifield was first called to the plate on the bang-bang game, but after a challenge and review it was deemed safe because receiver Gary Sanchez was blocking the plate and did not set a lane for Merrifield.

Target Field erupted in a chorus of boos, and Baldelli stormed out of the dugout. The Twins manager threw his cap on the ground and was ejected from the game.

Minnesota Twins wide receiver Gary Sanchez scores Toronto Blue Jays' Whit Merrifield, who scored from third on a sacrificial fly by Cavan Biggio, in the 10th inning in Minneapolis on August 7, 2022.

Minnesota Twins wide receiver Gary Sanchez scores Toronto Blue Jays Whit Merrifield, who scored from third on a Cavan Biggio sacrifice fly, in the 10th inning in Minneapolis on August 7, 2022.
(AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

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Toronto won3-2.

Baldelli didn’t hold back in his post-match press conference.

“In all of baseball, the thousands and thousands of games and home games where the catcher jams the plate over and over and over again, that game has hardly ever been called off,” he said via Bally Sports. North. “And for someone to intervene in this situation and [decide] someone was blocking the plate, it’s more than embarrassing for our game, for all the players on both sides of the field who worked hard the whole game. It is totally unacceptable.

“It’s one of the worst moments we’ve seen as an umpire in any game I’ve been in in baseball, and I think it was pathetic.”

Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, right, argues with the umpires after a review overturned a call that originally kicked Whit Merrifield out of the Toronto Blue Jays at home in the 10th inning on Sunday August 7 2022, in Minneapolis.

Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, right, argues with the umpires after a review overturned a call that originally kicked Whit Merrifield out of the Toronto Blue Jays at home in the 10th inning on Sunday August 7 2022, in Minneapolis.
(AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

He said he did not receive an explanation as to why the call was cancelled.

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“I haven’t been given an explanation because, truth be told, there is no explanation to be given about this game,” Baldelli added via MLB.com. “It was probably one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen on a baseball field.”

Sanchez said he thought he left a path.

“He slid towards me. I’m just touching him. I had the ball first. I think the line was open for him to slide sideways. He didn’t. It was a clean game,” Sanchez said.

Merrifield talked about what he was thinking as he walked home.

“I had a feeling there would be a game at home plate,” he said. “I looked down the first two steps and then looked up and tried to figure out how to get into home plate and saw Gary straddling home plate so I tried to Sliding into him, straight into him as best I could. I know what the rule is, it was just a matter of whether they were going to call him.”

According to the Toronto Sun, team manager Alan Porter said Sanchez broke the “plate collision rule.”

Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, right, argues with referees Marty Foster, left, and Alan Porter after a review overturned a call that originally kicked Whit Merrifield out of the Toronto Blue Jays at home in Round 10 on Sunday, August 7, 2022, in Minneapolis.  The Blue Jays won 3-2 in 10 innings.

Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, right, argues with referees Marty Foster, left, and Alan Porter after a review overturned a call that originally kicked Whit Merrifield out of the Toronto Blue Jays at home in Round 10 on Sunday, August 7, 2022, in Minneapolis. The Blue Jays won 3-2 in 10 innings.
(AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

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With the win, the Blue Jays maintained a two-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League wildcard standings. The Twins’ lead over the Cleveland Guardians in American League Central has fallen to one game.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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