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Twins miffed by questionable calls in loss to Guardians

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CLEVELAND (AP) — Following a one-run loss, Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli was having a hard time processing what had just happened to his ballclub.

This one was tough on the Twins.

“There was some stuff going on today,” Baldelli said.

Several questionable pitch calls and a confusing rule violation tripped up the Twins, who dropped their fourth straight game Friday night, 3-2 as the Cleveland Guardians got a home run in the eighth inning from José Ramírez after Minnesota reliever Jhoan Duran got squeezed by plate umpire Roberto Ortiz.

Baldelli meant no disrespect toward Ramírez, whom he described as a “great player.” But he was bothered Ortiz had put Cleveland's All-Star third baseman in a favorable situation by calling two balls that were strikes.

“We can say they’re close pitches," Baldelli said. "They’re strikes. Am I wrong about that based on anything objective that we have to look at? Those things do happen in the game, but that’s why he has to throw a pitch in the zone because he’s behind in the count.”

Ramírez's homer came shortly after Twins center fielder Willi Castro was called out looking in the top of the inning on a border line pitch. Then, in the ninth, Minnesota shortstop Carlos Correa struck out looking at a pitch that was low.

Earlier, Correa, who was taunted with chants of “Cheat-er” by Cleveland fans who won't forget his days in Houston, was called for a rare shift violation.

As for the strikeout, Correa diplomatically said umpires might be overmatched behind the plate.

“I feel like pitchers are too nasty right now for umpires to see,” he said. "I feel like if the umpires knew what was coming and they had a Pitchcom (communication device) they would make calls so much better.

"It’s really hard for them to just be able to call pitches, especially the way the catchers are framing nowadays. If they had a device where it says slider and they are anticipating the slider and they know where it has to start and land for it to be a strike, then we would get so many calls.

"But the fact that they are over there blind, it’s really hard. I just think their job is too hard for me to be harsh on them. Sometimes I get calls, sometimes I don’t and you move on.”

In the sixth inning, Correa was called for the first shift violation in MLB this season.

Playing behind second base, Correa raced to his left and fielded a grounder by Ramírez before throwing him out. However, the Guardians challenged that Correa was illegally shifted and won a lengthy replay review, giving Ramírez new life.

Correa said he's been lining up in the same spot since rules were changed last season.

“I’ve always played it like that. To me, that’s what was in the rule book and it wasn’t, so today I learned something new,” he said, smiling. "Baseball is beautiful.”

Baldelli was bothered that it took several minutes for the umpires to rule on a play that appeared inconclusive.

“Everything we do in replay has to be definitive," he said. “The people in charge have to be able to look at it and go, that’s definitive. I was surprised that we ended up with a definitive call on that. Replay is supposed to be when we’re getting calls right and they’re definitive and we’re sure about them.”

Baldelli acknowledged the Twins could have done more to help themselves, but other forces worked against them.

“There are some guys who are upset in the room and I’m not happy about it, either,” he said. “That’s tough to take.”



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