MINNEAPOLIS -- It took a little longer than normal for Twins second baseman Alexi Casilla to cross home plate after hitting his first home run of the season on Friday night. That's because he had to wait for an umpire's review to overturn the original call and rule that it was indeed a home run.
In the fifth inning of the Twins 5-3 win against the Mariners, Casilla belted a 3-1 pitch from Mariners starter Doug Fister deep to right-center field and the ball appeared to bounce off a railing that is set back from the 23-foot wall.
But second-base umpire Ron Kulpa originally ruled that the ball was in play and not a home run, so Casilla stopped at third base for a triple. Shortly after the play ended, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire came out of the dugout to request to the umpiring crew that the play be reviewed.
After a short delay, the call was overturned, and Casilla was awarded his first home run of the season. The two-run homer put the Twins up, 5-0.
"As soon as he hit it, I thought it was gone, and then it hit the top and it bounced straight up and I was like, 'Yes.'" infielder Danny Valencia said. "And then the ump was giving the safe signal to make it seem like it was still in play. But I was pretty excited for him. He just came back, obviously, so it was really good for him and he's been swinging the bat good."
When Casilla was finally able to make the final jog from third base to home after several minutes of waiting, he was greeted warmly by his teammates with high-fives and pats on the back.
Gardenhire said the home run was a "big hit" for Casilla and the team -- the two runs were the deciding factor in the Twins' win. Gardenhire also said that it was especially good to see that after Denard Span was caught stealing the play before. The manager said the homer took "all the disappointment away."
It was the sixth time that instant replay has been used at Target Field in the ballpark's inaugural season, and Valencia said he doesn't mind reviews too much especially because they add suspense and a unique factor to a game. He added that the Twins don't mind them much, either, as long as the final call goes their way.
"If it's in our favor it's awesome," Valencia said. "I thought it worked out great and we were all pretty pumped as soon as they came out and said it was a home run."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. Jocelyn Syrstad is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.