MINNEAPOLIS -- With the Twins down to their last strike Tuesday, Rockies reliever Jake McGee hurled a full-count fastball in the dirt and Chris Gimenez couldn't check his swing, getting rung up by first-base umpire David Rackley.
But as the Rockies celebrated what they thought was the final out of the game, with catcher Tony Wolters casually tossing the ball back to McGee, Gimenez ran safely to first, which was unoccupied with Jason Castro at second. It extended the game, bringing Brian Dozier to plate. Rockies manager Bud Black then brought in closer Greg Holland in a four-run game. Holland retired Dozier to preserve Colorado's 7-3 win and improve to 17-for-17 in save chances, but it was a strange play that even Twins manager Paul Molitor said he'd never witnessed at such a critical juncture.
"I don't know if I've ever seen that before with a potential game-ending strikeout," Molitor said. "It was a weird play. But it gave us another chance to extend the game."
Gimenez said the umpires were immediately aware of the situation and so was veteran first baseman Ian Desmond, but he didn't want to run right out of the box to make it obvious. So he started with a slow walk and a jog to first before running once he saw Wolters toss the ball to McGee.
"My first reaction was to look at the first-base umpire and he [made a fist], and I kind of walked toward first base," Gimenez said. "Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Wolters walk toward the mound. I looked at Desmond and he wasn't saying it, but you could tell he was thinking, 'Hey, hey give me the ball.' So as soon as I saw him throw the ball to McGee, I took off running and he never threw down."
Wolters, in his return from the 7-day concussion disabled list, took responsibility for the play after the game.
"I just had a brain fart," Wolters said, then chuckled. "I've got to stop having those brain farts."
Gimenez, a big league catcher for parts of nine years, said that Desmond jokingly called him a "salty veteran" when he got to first, and said he doesn't think Wolters will forget the play.
"I understand those things can speed up on you," Gimenez said. "But I guarantee you, he'll never do that again. Put it that way. Thankfully for them, it didn't come back to get them."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. 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.