DETROIT -- Tigers right-hander Doug Fister shut down every Twins' attempt at a rally on Saturday. He didn't necessarily need help, but he got it on a questionable call by second-base umpire Brian O'Nora in the fifth inning.
The Twins trailed, 8-0, and second baseman Alexi Casilla doubled to lead off the fifth. Two batters later, Denard Span popped up to the center of the diamond, and as Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta drifted over the make the play he collided with Casilla and the ball touched the ground.
However, Casilla had trotted back to second with his back facing Peralta.
According to the Major League Baseball Rule 7.08(b): "A runner who is adjudged to have hindered a fielder who is attempting to play on a batted ball is out whether it was intentional or not. If, however, the runner has contact with a legally occupied base when he hinders the fielder, he should not be called out, unless such hindrance, in the umpire's judgement ... is intentional."
Neither Twins manager Ron Gardenhire nor Casilla thought it was intentional, prompting the skipper to argue the call.
"He said Alexi has to make an effort to get out of the way," Gardenhire said. "I know the bag can't protect the runner. I know the runner has to make an effort to get out of the way. I don't know where he was supposed to go.
"Jhonny kind of screwed the pop fly up by coming in and then chasing it backwards. Then he ran over Lexi."
Casilla said he didn't make much of an effort to avoid the collision, but that's because he had no idea it was coming.
"I just went back to the bag and stayed on the bag. I didn't see him coming toward me because my face was looking straight to center field," he said. "I just felt him hit me and I tried to stay on the bag, but [O'Nora] called me out right away."
With the Twins in an eight-run hole, it certainly wasn't a game-changer. But it's quite possible it could've prevented the shutout, as Span would've been awarded first and Joe Mauer -- after Ben Revere's strikeout -- was due up.