Twins starter Jose Berrios was working on a one-hit shutout in the ninth inning against the Orioles on Sunday afternoon. After getting Pedro Alvarez to pop out, Chance Sisco came to the plate and dropped down a bunt to the left side for a single. Berrios would then walk Chris Davis and Manny Machado to load the bases, but finished his shutout by getting Jonathan Schoop to pop out and Adam Jones to strike out.
The Twins won 7-0. Berrios got his shutout. They should be happy, right? The Twins were actually pretty upset with Sisco’s choice to lay down a bunt. Second baseman Brian Dozier said, via Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, “Obviously, we’re not a fan of it. He’s a young kid. I could’ve said something at second base but they have tremendous veteran leadership over there. I’m sure they’ll address that. It’s all about learning. You learn up here.”
Berrios said, “I don’t care if he’s bunting. I just know it’s not good for baseball in that situation. That’s it.”
In baseball’s rather large book of unwritten rules, there has traditionally been a section that says hitters shouldn’t attempt to bunt for a hit to break up a pitcher’s no-hitter. I’ve never heard an unwritten rule prescribing that same behavior when a pitcher is working on a one-hitter.
As Matthew Pouliot points out, the Twins were shifting Sisco pretty hard to the right side when he came to the plate in the ninth inning.
The game wasn’t over yet. Sure, overcoming a seven-run deficit with one out in the ninth is a tall order, but players aren’t taught to just roll over once the deficit reaches a certain threshold. They play until the last out is officially recorded. Furthermore, if the Twins expected Sisco to play standard, why weren’t they playing standard defense? If it’s okay to defensively shift up by seven, then it’s okay to bunt down by seven — even if there’s a one-hitter in progress.
This is just tremendously petty on the Twins’ part. The two clubs don’t meet up again until July 5 in Minnesota, so we’ll see if the Twins carry a grudge for three months.