With a four-game playoff series hanging in the balance between the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox on Thursday, Josh Donaldson's home run should've given the Twins a big boost. And it did, until what happened as he crossed home plate. Per MLB, words were exchanged between Donaldson and umpire Dan Bellino while Donaldson was at bat, after Bellino's call of a strike apparently wasn't appreciated by Donaldson. Soon after, Donaldson slammed the ball into the empty bleachers of Chicago's Guaranteed Rate Field. As he neared home plate, he gave one final nudge to Bellino by kicking dirt all over the plate. He apparently wasn't sure if he'd actually touched the plate to make the homer count, so he jogged back to put his foot on it—but Bellino threw him out of the game before he even made it back.
"Not the smartest move by the 11-year veteran," Steve Gardner writes of Donaldson for USA Today, noting that the player's antics came not only against a team in front of the Twins for the division title, but also during a game that was only separated at that point by one run; Donaldson's hitting could've been useful later on. And sure enough, the White Sox ended up winning the game 4-3, also winning the series 3-1 and clinching a playoff berth. "If the Twins end up finishing a game behind the White Sox in the AL Central standings, one unnecessary temper tantrum could be the reason why," Gardner writes. ESPN notes the run-in that led to Donaldson's booting had been preceded by a previous quarrel with Bellino over a call in the first inning. "Josh's emotions got the best of him," Twins' manager Rocco Baldelli said, per MLB. (Read more Minnesota Twins stories.)