The Erick Aybar at-bat in the top of the ninth inning of game one of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Tigers perfectly encapsulated the Twins’ 2016 season in a nutshell. Reliever Pat Light couldn’t even intentionally walk Aybar without allowing a run.
With the Tigers leading 3-2, Light had walked J.D. Martinez to lead off the inning, then followed up by walking Justin Upton. James McCann then attempted to lay down a bunt to move both runners into scoring position, but Martinez was forced out at third base. Light threw a wild pitch that allowed Upton and McCann to move up a base. Now with a base open, Light tried to intentionally walk Aybar to set up a ground ball double play and a force out at every base. His 3-1 pitch sailed high above catcher Juan Centeno, allowing Upton to score from third base and McCann to scamper to third.
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It got worse from there. Michael Tonkin relieved light, but promptly served up a three-run home run to Victor Martinez to make it a 7-2 game. From there, two singles and two walks would force in another run. While striking out J.D. Martinez in his second at-bat of the inning, Tonkin threw a wild pitch and that brought in the Tigers’ ninth run. Mercifully, the Tigers stopped scoring at that point and Tonkin saw his way out of the inning.
That ninth inning has to rank among the absolute worst innings of the season. Three wild pitches, five walks, two singles, and a home run.