Controversial call goes against Twins
Vying for tying run, Cuddyer ruled out on slide into home
OAKLAND -- After slamming his helmet down in disgust as he left the field, Twins right fielder Michael Cuddyer was much less emotional as he stood by his locker in the visitors' clubhouse.Rather, Cuddyer was clear and concise about what happened on the final play of the Twins' 14-13 loss to the A's on Monday night. "No doubt about it in my mind that I was safe," Cuddyer said. On a night when eight home runs were hit in a slugfest between Oakland and Minnesota, it was a close play at the plate that determined the contest's winner. The Twins had watched a 10-run lead disappear earlier in the night, but they had a chance to tie the contest back up at 14 in the top of the ninth. With two outs, Cuddyer doubled off A's reliever Michael Wuertz. Following an intentional walk to Jason Kubel, who had reached base his five previous plate appearances, Wuertz threw a wild pitch while Delmon Young was at the plate. The pitch bounced off the ground and then kicked off catcher Kurt Suzuki's glove high into the air and back toward the backstop. Seeing the pitch get clearly away from Suzuki, Cuddyer headed for home as Young frantically waved him on. "I saw the ball go straight up in the air," Cuddyer said. "I made up my mind, once it hits the ground, if it rolls, then I was gone. That's what I did, and I still think it was the right decision." "Kurt had a hard time finding the ball," Wuertz said. "I was just thinking about getting to the plate." With Wuertz covering home plate after receiving the throw from Suzuki, Cuddyer slid between the pitcher's legs, and replays appeared to show that his foot touched the plate before Wuertz's tag. But Cuddyer was called out by home-plate umpire Mike Muchlinski, eliciting a strong response from the right fielder, who jumped up and tried to argue before Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire cut in. As bench coach Steve Liddle helped lead Cuddyer off the field, the outfielder spiked his helmet into the ground. "[Mulchlinski] said he thought Wuertz tagged him before he got to the plate," Gardenhire said. "He made a call. He thought he saw it. I was standing right behind it. I could see that he went through his legs. I don't know. It happens. I told him, 'I don't think you are going to like yourself very much when you see the replay of that.'" When asked to comment on the play after the game, crew chief Tom Hallion said, "No thanks." As for A's manager Bob Geren, he said that he didn't get a good look at the play. "I saw that it was going to be close," Geren said. "Everyone was jumping up and down. I don't know. I didn't see it." For the Twins, it was a tough way to see the contest end. But Gardenhire wasn't placing all the blame on what he felt was a missed call. "Cuddy slid in and was safe -- there is no doubt about that," Gardenhire said. "We also shot ourselves in the foot pitching-wise. It's hard to point the finger and say, 'He blew it,' because we did enough blowing it ourselves."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.