MINNEAPOLIS -- Michael Cuddyer hasn't spent a lot of time at third base this season for the Twins, but he didn't have much doubt about the tag that he applied on Kelly Shoppach in the 10th inning of the Twins' 5-4 loss to the Rays on Thursday. "I felt like I touched his jersey," Cuddyer said. "On replay, it looked like I touched his jersey. So I don't know what else to tell you." Cuddyer believed he had made the tag for what would have been the first out of the 10th inning, but third-base umpire Alfonso Marquez ruled that Cuddyer didn't tag Shoppach, and the Twins found themselves in the midst of a disputed call.
The situation unfolded with runners on first and second and no outs for the Rays in the 10th, with game tied at 4. Willy Aybar singled to left field off right-hander Matt Guerrier, plating the go-ahead run for Tampa Bay, and Shoppach, who had been on first base after getting hit by a pitch, tried to advance to third on the play. Delmon Young's throw from left field to third base beat Shoppach by a few yards, and Cuddyer caught the throw. He appeared to brush Shoppach on the stomach with his glove, but Marquez ruled that the tag was never placed. "He just got in a hurry and missed," Shoppach said of Cuddyer's tag. "That's really just a bad baserunning play that turned into a controversy." Immediately following the play, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire ran out to third base to contest the call with Marquez. The ensuing argument led to Gardenhire being ejected for the second time this year and the 49th time in his career. Gardenhire said the only explanation he received was that Marquez said Cuddyer didn't make the tag. But while the Twins didn't agree with the ruling, Rays manager Joe Maddon felt it was the right one. "He never tagged him," Maddon said. "He wasn't tagged and he was safe. The umpire made a good call." The contested call didn't prove costly for the Twins, as the Rays weren't able to add to their lead. Guerrier got the next two batters -- Sean Rodriguez popped out to first baseman Justin Morneau in foul territory and Jason Kubel made a sliding catch in shallow right field to rob Jason Bartlett of a hit. After Guerrier walked Ben Zobrist, left-hander Brian Duensing took over and got Carl Crawford to ground out sharply to first base. Cuddyer was asked if he could remember a play in which a throw had beaten a player to third base by as much as it did Shoppach and there was a ruling of no tag. "I can't remember another one," Cuddyer said. "But Matty got the next two out and Duensing got the third one, so it didn't affect the score. But it could have."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.