He made great headway by striking out six of the first 11 batters. Things are hazy after that.
Minor was one strikeout away from his goal by the top of the eighth, but had a 1-2-3 inning when the Red Sox offered at three pitches and produced three outs. Minor returned to the mound in the ninth, and with one out, first baseman Ronald Guzman intentionally let a popup from Boston’s Chris Owings drop in foul territory.
Guzman was reportedly following the orders of Minor, who instructed him not to catch the ball, according to ESPN.
“We were yelling, telling [Guzman] to drop it because there’s going to be two strikes,” Minor said. “He dropped it, and then he looked at me like, ‘What? Why?’ And then everybody started booing or whatever. I had to thank him for that, because [the fans] didn’t understand.”
Minor struck Owings out on the next pitch, but Rangers Manager Chris Woodward said after the game he wasn’t thrilled by the tactic. But he also accused the Red Sox of attempting to keep Minor from his milestone in the eighth.
“I didn’t love the idea that we dropped a popup at the end,” Woodward said. “But on the other side of that, they swung at three pitches in a row in the eighth inning down by two.”
Red Sox Manager Alex Cora offered more subtle shade: “I’m just happy our guys are playing the game the right way.”
The Rangers beat the Red Sox, 7-5, but the dropped popup was the focus of most conversations after the game. The most searing criticism may have come from the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham, who on Twitter said Minor’s milestone should have an asterisk. He called the pitcher’s methods “unprofessional.”
“Ask me if I care Pete,” Minor responded.
Ask me if I care Pete— Mike Minor (@MikeMinor36) September 26, 2019