09/30/2003 6:53 PM ET
Rule stunts Twins' rally
NEW YORK -- It's Rule 6.08, subparagraph (b), and it helped stunt a Twins' rally Tuesday in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
"The batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out (provided he advances to and touches first base) when ... he is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit."
Whether Minnesota catcher A.J. Pierzynski had the intention of hitting the first pitch he saw from Yankees lefty Felix Heredia is debatable; still, he went around in the process. What would've been an RBI hit-by-pitch and a 4-0 Minnesota lead instead was simply strike one.
Pierzynski was headed toward first base when home plate umpire Ed Montague called him back. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire argued to no avail.
Asked where the ball hit him, he smiled. "It hit me three times," he said, "so pick an arm and the chest."
In retrospect, he saw Montague's point. "By getting out of the way, the bat kind of went around," he said. "Then I swung at another bad pitch and got into a double play. It's just something that happens in the game. You don't see it too much. I wish I could've gotten the extra run for us."
The double play came on Heredia's 2-1 pitch, a comebacker to the mound that Heredia fired to home for the force. Yankees' catcher Jorge Posada went to first to end the inning.
Had Pierzynski gotten out of the way, he might have had a 3-0 advantage on the lefty. But then, Heredia might have pitched him differently, anyway. In the end, it was moot. Eddie Guardado put the tying run on in the next half-inning but earned the save for a 3-1 win.
Pierzynski was hit by 15 pitches in the regular season, tied for sixth-highest in the American League and more than double that of any other Minnesota hitter.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.