After giving up three points at the top of the first inning in Thursday’s 7-5 win over the Yankees at Target Field, Twins owner JA Happ literally threw his body in front of a potential fourth.
With Gio Urshela on third base and Miguel Andújar in the pot, Happ made a double pass over receiver Ben Rortvedt’s head, opening the door for Urshela to go home. Rortvedt’s sneaky pitch bounced to Happ’s left as he slid in, so his only play was to hand-to-hand, then reach out over his body to tag Yankees third baseman.
“You’re asking a lonely guy to play a game he might not play for years,” said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. “You just have to react on the pitch, get the job done and he did it. In the end, I think, the ball with his bare hands, making the tag. I did it. I mean, every run is important and he being there to make it happen and finishing that inning was huge. “
Urshela was initially called safe, but the game was overturned on the overhaul. It was an incredible end to an otherwise difficult first inning for Happ, who pitched for New York from 2018-20 before joining Minnesota on a one-year contract last season.
“Finally. I feel like, for the past 15 years, I’ve been trying to get a guy out of a situation like this, for the past 15 years I’ve been trying to get a guy out in a situation like that, it rarely goes right.” Happ said. “Luckily, I was able to grab it with my hand and reach out and I think it happened to be able to get a little ahead of the pot. Quite a hit to get out of that inning and try to regroup.”