Trailing 3-1 in the top of the sixth on Friday night against the Minnesota Twins, the Toronto Blue Jays faced a situation eerily similar to that of one night before, when Justin Smoak homered in the top of the ninth to tie the game before the Twins walked it off in the 10th. They had put in the work, but to no avail.
On Friday night in Minnesota, the results were reaped.
Down by two, Josh Donaldson homered, and it was only a one-run gap. Russell Martin, in his second start behind the plate since being activated off of the disabled list, doubled, and the game was tied.
And Donaldson, up again just one inning after his home run, singled. The Blue Jays had the lead. They won 4-3.
It was Toronto’s fifth victory in their past seven games, most of which came against teams racing for the second American League wildcard position. The Baltimore Orioles, Toronto’s last opponent, was on the fringe of the race when they entered their series against the Blue Jays. They are no longer.
Even with nothing of value left from the 2017 season — except draft picks, of course — Toronto is looking to do the same to Minnesota and, in the first game of the four-game series, the Blue Jays have found success in their attempt.
Donaldson, scoring two of the Blue Jays’ four runs, had three hits in the win. Two were extra-base hits.
It should also be noted that Kevin Pillar walked twice, in addition to his home run, in the win.
As has been consistent in all of Toronto’s past seven games, the starting pitching against the Twins was good enough, if not superb. J.A. Happ threw 6.1 innings, giving up three earned runs while walking just one. He struck out five, an underwhelming value, but extended his stretch of strong starts to four after giving up five earned runs in back-to-back outings in August.
It’s impossible to predict the results one might reap on a game-to-game basis in baseball, but the results can’t be reaped without the work. For the Blue Jays in the past two games, that hasn’t been a problem.