MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have made several gaffes late in games en route to their 10-30 start to the season, and on Thursday it was Danny Santana who made a critical baserunning mistake in the 11th inning of a 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays at Target Field.
Santana, who had already stolen second base twice in the game, reached on a one-out single off Blue Jays right-hander Joe Biagini. Twins manager Paul Molitor gave Santana the green light with Brian Dozier batting, but Santana took off too early and Biagini was able to easily throw him out. Dozier then struck out to end the game.
Molitor defended the decision to send Santana but said he left early as Biagini purposely held on to the ball a bit longer, knowing Santana had two stolen bases.
"I'm going to try to get into scoring position if I can and the odds are right," Molitor said. "Danny is getting better. I think that off [Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada] tonight, who was a little quicker to home than the last guy, you might try to anticipate and try to time him a little bit. But I didn't think that was necessary in that instance to cheat quite as much. They saw him break early in his second stolen base, and it's not surprising they're going to hold the ball a little bit on you the next time around."
Santana, who leads the team in stolen bases with nine, was glad that Molitor had the confidence in him but shouldered the blame for leaving too soon.
"I felt I had his timing down well in that last one, but they did a good thing holding on to the ball knowing I was going to try to steal second base again," Santana said through translator Carlos Font. "They knew I had two stolen bases and they held onto the ball to see what would happen."
Acting Blue Jays manager DeMarlo Hale credited catcher Russell Martin for telling Biagini to slow down and hold the ball.
"He just held the ball and kept his composure," Hale said. "It was a big out, no doubt. Top of the lineup is there, trying to keep the baserunner out of scoring position."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.