Rocco Baldelli believes that Eddie Rosario knew he was going to hit that home run.
While he wasn’t wagering major league cash on it like some of his players, the Twins new-age manager had a premonition that Rosario knew he was going to smack a pinch-hit three-run home run in the seventh inning that put the Minnesota Twins up 4-3 on the Oakland A’s in an eventual 6-3 victory. It’s what he does, and what he’s done all year long.
“That’s just a fact,” he said. “He does love being in these situations. I think he fully expected to hit a home run because that’s what he does.”
Baldelli waited for the A’s to lift starter Mike Fiers — who had held the Twins to one run to that point, but had just given up a double to Luis Arraez and walked Miguel Sano — in favor of Yusmeiro Petit. Then he deployed the man who had lost the ball in the sun in Wednesday’s game, which led to a six-run inning and ultimately a 14-4 loss to the New York Mets, to try and end Oakland’s six-game win streak and halt their three-game slide.
“If Petit was brought in, Rosie was going to hit,” he said, noting that Jorge Polanco was warming up in the cages in case the A’s brought a lefty in. “So we were just waiting for everything to become official on the field and then we could get Rosie out there.”
“I’ve done it before in my career,” said Rosario, noting that he has three career pinch-hit home runs. “I’m going to try to do the same thing. I want to try to hit it hard and make good contact. I love the moment. I think the moment pushes me to hit these home runs.”
The Twins have been able to win games after blowout losses all year long. A 10-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in the sixth game of the season? A 6-2 win the next day. An 11-0 loss to the Houston Astros? They win the next two games. How about 14-3 to the Tampa Bay Rays? They win the next three games against them.
Baldelli constantly stresses that his goal is to keep everyone even-keeled. Celebrate the win today; move on from it the next morning. Get crushed by a possible World Series contender; keep the music going, talk to the player next to you and relax — there’s another game soon.
The Twins didn’t seem too rattled after losing 14-4 to the Mets, an underachieving team that handed them their third straight loss for the first time all season. They maintained the quiet confidence they’ve had all season long.
“As a whole, our team, really it’s just a matter of time until something like that is going to happen,” said Kyle Gibson, who gave up a two-run home run to Jurickson Profar in the sixth inning, giving the A’s a 3-1 lead.
“It’s going to happen rarely that we only score one or two runs but with the amount of guys that we have that we have that can really swing the bat, it’s going to be really tough to keep us one or two runs pretty consistently so Rosie’s a guy that loves the big moment and love the spotlight and really thrives in that situation.”
We’re 95 games into the season. The Twins are 59-36.
This isn’t Taylor Rogers’ only six-out save. It’s not the first time Rosario has come up with a big hit. They’ve bounced back before, and they seem awful confident they will again if they have to.