Before Mark Teixeira ended the game in the bottom of the 11th, the Minnesota Twins had a golden opportunity stolen away from when left field umpire Phil Cuzzi cost Joe Mauer a lead-off double as he called a clearly fair ball foul.
“The left field umpire Phil Cuzzi saw the ball foul and called what he saw, rendered the ball foul decision,” crew chief Tim Tschida said. “Afterwards, like any close play, we went in and looked at it and it’s a clear indication that an incorrect decision was rendered.”
“We just feel horribly when that happens,” Tschida said. “There’s a guy sitting over there in the umpire’s dressing room right now that feels horrible.”
Leading off the 11th inning with the game tied 3-3, Mauer hit one down the left field line that bounced into the seats after it landed nearly a foot into fair territory. Melky Cabrera raced for it and barely missed the ball as Cuzzi immediately called the ball foul.
Mauer eventually singled during the at bat, but probably lost a chance to score when the next batter, Jason Kubel, singled to right field. Mauer never scored during the inning after Michael Cuddyer singled, Delmon Young lined out, Carlos Gomez grounded into a fielder’s choice, and Brendan Harris flied out to center.
Mauer noted that the inning could have gone differently. He specifically said that Robinson Cano would have been positioned differently if he was on second instead of first and could have made a play on Kubel’s hit. It’s also possible that with Mauer on second to rely signs to Kubel he could have done even more damage.
“Obviously we score a run there. A double puts us in a great situation where we can do a lot of things. We definitely would’ve scored one run, and obviously we didn’t that inning and it ended up costing us,” closer Joe Nathan said. “You don’t know how he missed it. You see on the replays he’s probably about 10 feet from the call, and the ball was not on the line. It was a good eight inches inside the line, so I don’t know how he missed it.”