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Time wasn't on the Twins' side Sunday. At least, not when it might have mattered most.

Alex Kirilloff was at the plate with two outs in the sixth inning, but with a chance to add to a 6-4 lead. After all, he was batting .364 with runners in scoring position at the time, and coincidentally was 2-for-2 on the season in that exact situation: two outs and runners on first and second.

But after taking a changeup for a strike and missing a cutter low and in against Blue Jays reliever Thomas Hatch, Kirilloff chose not to call timeout. He took a deep breath, put one foot in the batter's box and, as the pitch clock hit 8 seconds, put his right foot in the box as well.

Kirilloff was looking at the plate as he did so, however, and umpire Brian Walsh immediately waved his arms, ruling that the hitter was not "alert to the pitcher by the 8-second mark," as the new MLB rule mandates. Kirilloff was charged with a third strike, and the inning, his at-bat, and the Twins' threat ended with only two pitches thrown.

"It's a bold call. I mean, I can't agree with that and I think the Blue Jays are walking off the field thinking they got away with something," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, who argued with Walsh, along with third-base coach Tommy Watkins, told reporters in Toronto after the game. "I understand the umpires are going to have a way of ruling this, and in his eyes, it was clear. He's not going to call it unless he feels strongly about it. I just feel strongly that that was not a call that was clear."

That's because Kirilloff raised his eyes toward Hatch before the clock hit :07, a remarkably close call that the Twins, with still shots of Kirilloff looking toward the pitcher with the clock reading :08, believe robbed one of their best hitters of a crucial at-bat.

"He looked down for a split-second, but he was looking at the pitcher, also, when the clock said 8," Baldelli said. "I mean, if you're going to make the call, make sure that he's not also looking up when the clock said 8. He was. We have several very, very easy-to-see angles of him looking up at the pitcher while the clock still says 8."

Kirilloff's violation was the 10th time this season a Twins hitter has been ruled in violation of the pitch clock. Only Houston and Colorado, with 11 each, have more.

Umpire switcheroo

Walsh, who made his MLB debut last month, began the game as the first-base umpire, but moved behind the plate when a fourth-inning foul ball by Daulton Varsho struck plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt on the forearm. Wendelstedt was in obvious pain after the deflection and left the game, causing a 10-minute delay.

Wendelstedt wasn't the only person being battered behind the plate. Walsh took a Varsho foul ball off his mask several innings later. And three batters after Wendelstedt's injury, the game was delayed again when Toronto's Nathan Lukes lost control of his bat and struck Twins catcher Christian Vázquez in the neck, though Vázquez — who had been hit by a pitch in his at-bat earlier that inning — remained in the game.


Michael A. Taylor stole his 11th base in 11 attempts this season in the sixth inning, and Willi Castro swiped his 12th base of the season, in 14 attempts, in the ninth. extending the Twins' streak to 24 consecutive successful attempts, longest in team history. Though the Twins' total of 34 steals this season still ranks among the bottom five in baseball, their 85.0% success rate (34-for-40) ranks third in the majors behind the Mets (88.9%) and White Sox (87.0%).

Joey Gallo homered for the second day in a row on his rehab assignment, a go-ahead, two-run shot in the seventh inning that helped the Saints to an 8-5 victory over Iowa at CHS Field. Outfielder Gilberto Celestino, on the 60-day injured list after tearing a left thumb ligament during spring training, drew three walks and scored twice in his first rehab game with the Saints.