"I thought it was the right move, only because the third baseman was back," Romine said Monday. "If he was in normal, then I would have just swung away."
Romine stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in a game the Tigers were trailing by three after back-to-back walks to Erick Aybar and Jarrod Saltalamacchia chased Royals starter Edinson Volquez from the game. With only one out needed at any base, Cheslor Cuthbert played Romine back at third. Romine, who has three infield hits but none on bunts this season, read the defense and saw an opportunity.
His downfall, he said, wasn't the decision to bunt, but the bunt itself. Instead of bunting down the third-base line, his bunt went back to the pitcher, Peter Moylan, who had plenty of time to shovel the ball home for the forceout at the plate.
"If I put that bunt away from the pitcher," Romine said, "then I'm safe, everybody's safe. But I didn't get the bounce that I hoped and it ended up going back towards the pitcher."
The implications of that bunt were huge.
"It changes the game," Romine said. "I mean, who knows what happens when [Ian] Kinsler's up with the bases loaded and a two-run game if I got that bunt down? A base hit ties the game, a double puts us ahead."
Instead, the Tigers stranded the bases loaded. They had other chances to come back in the game, but fell short.
After the game, manager Brad Ausmus deferred to Romine to explain the decision. If he had an issue with it, Ausmus said, he'd talk to Romine about it.
On Monday, Ausmus said, "I knew what he was trying to do, but I'll talk to him about that."