Baltimore Orioles

Orioles' Chance Sisco draws ire of Twins for ninth-inning bunt against shift

Catcher Chance Sisco, who until the ninth inning had the Orioles’ only hit with a third-inning double, got the visiting Minnesota Twins' dander up when he bunted against the shift to start a failed ninth-inning rally.

"Just trying to mess with the timing of the game,” Sisco said. “He was kind of going through the lineup. Just trying to do what I can to get on base.


“They were playing the shift right there, so they kind of gave it to me. If they're going to shift, I have to take it right there in that spot. We got bases loaded right after that. We're a couple home runs away from tying the game — bases loaded, [Adam Jones] or [Jonathan Schoop] hits a home run right there? We're a couple runs away from being back in that game.”

Sisco had already heard about it from the Twins' dugout by that point, and after starter José Berríos walked Chris Davis and allowed a single to Manny Machado, he finished out by retiring Schoop and striking out Jones to wrap his one-hit shutout on 107 pitches.


The Twins were in a heavy pull shift at the time, with one infielder on the left side of the infield against the left-handed-hitting Sisco.

Considering the only extended winning stretch of the Orioles’ season last year was spent litigating a feud with the Boston Red Sox over baseball’s unwritten rules, and the fact that they have their own problems to deal with heading off for a week of games at the World Series champion Houston Astros and the American League Championship Series runner-up New York Yankees, the matter didn’t receive as much attention from the Orioles side.

Last summer, Orioles starter Dylan Bundy ended up with a one-hit shutout Aug. 29 against the Seattle Mariners. The hit in question was a bunt single by Kyle Seager in the third inning. Because it was in the context of a competitive game, no one seemed to mind.

Berríos’ no-hit bid ended in the third inning as well, when Sisco slashed a high fly ball to the warning track in left field. According to MLB’s Statcast program, the ball only had a 44 percent chance of being a hit. Left fielder Eddie Rosario tracked it down but couldn’t catch it at the wall.

“It kind of took some of the drama out of what might have unfolded, but that's fine,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.