brian dozier-minnesota twins

The longer you watch baseball, the most you learn about the game’s complex set of unwritten rules. Throwing at heads is rightfully not allowed. Neither is distracting fielders looking to make a play. Or walking across the pitcher’s mound on the way back to the dugout. Bunting to break up a no-hitter in a no-hitter? Definitely not okay.

And on Sunday we learned a new one: According to Brian Dozier and the Minnesota Twins’ clubhouse, it’s not cool to bunt when a pitcher is throwing a one-hitter.

The bunt-heard-round-the-Twins-clubhouse came in the ninth inning of Minnesota’s game against the Orioles. Batting with one out and no one on and his team down 7-0, Baltimore rookie catcher Chance Sisco laid the ball down the third-base line, away from the Twins’ shift for an easy single. It was the Orioles’ second hit of the day off starter Jose Berrios.

Following the bunt, Berrios walked a batter and ceded a single, then retired the game’s final two batters to seal the win. No harm, no foul.

Unless, that is, you ask the Twins.

As relayed by the team’s beat writers, the Minnesota clubhouse was furious at the bunt. Berrios called it “not good for baseball,” outfielder Eddie Rosario said “no one liked that” and Dozier made clear that he expected the Orioles’ veterans to put Sisco in his place. Manager Paul Molitor reportedly complained that the bunt “It kind of took some of the drama out of what might have unfolded,” as if that was something Sisco should have been concerned with.

Here was how Sisco explained the bunt, via the Baltimore Sun:

“Just trying to mess with the timing of the game,” Sisco said. “He was kind of going through the lineup. Just trying to do what I can to get on base.

“They were playing the shift right there, so they kind of gave it to me. If they’re going to shift, I have to take it right there in that spot. We got bases loaded right after that. We’re a couple home runs away from tying the game — bases loaded, [Adam Jones] or [Jonathan Schoop] hits a home run right there? We’re a couple runs away from being back in that game.”

As Sisco explained, there are several reasons it made sense to bunt there. Among them:

  • To disrupt Berrios’ rhythm in hopes of sparking a comeback.
  • To force Berrios to throw more pitches in hopes of knocking him from the game, which could enable a comeback.
  • To demonstrate to the league that he’s not afraid to bunt against the shift, thereby making them think twice about shifts against him.
  • Simply to get on base, because getting on base helps win baseball games.

Only in baseball, it seems, can a player be criticized for doing something to increase his team’s odds of victory in the service of some meaningless milestone… for the opponent. Players really think that the Orioles catcher should pass on an easy base-hit because it will make the Twins’ pitcher more happy. It’s entirely illogical. Or maybe, as Dozier and company might say, you just can’t understand without having played the game ?.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.