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Cimber Submarines Jays, Twins Win 9-4

Minnesota Twins v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

Well, the Jays were always going to be in tough throwing a bullpen day against Joe Ryan, but this was not the way I think anyone expected to lose. Richards was exceptional, Francis looked intriguing, and the offence manufactured a few runs in the middle innings. The vibes were very good in the Rogers Centre. Then Schneider out-thought himself and the bullpen imploded. Adding injury to insult, Brandon Belt left the game with ‘hamstring tightness’.

There’s going to be a lot of pressure on Gausman to salvage the series tomorrow.

Trevor Richards was excellent as the opener. Edouard Julien lined a double to lead off, but then Richards sat the next eight Twins down, striking out six of them. Julien again reached with two out in the third, this time on a walk, but Richards punched Donovan Solano out to strand him. All in all, he struck out 7 and really never let anyone but Julien get close to reaching. It was a dominant performance.

Tim Mayza worked a clean fourth inning with the help of a terrific Matt Chapman diving snag to rob Alex Kiriloff of a hit

He came back to start the fifth and struck out Willi Castro, but Max Kepler singled and Schneider called for Bowden Francis. It was Francis’ second career MLB appearance and the first since April of last year. He reintroduced himself in style, striking out Ryan Jeffers and Michael A Taylor on his slow, deep breaking curveball.

In the sixth, Francis froze Julien on a 98mph (!!) fastball, gave up a ground ball single to Donovan Solano, then got a fly out and a ground out.

The Twins got to him in the 7th, in the form of a Larnach solo home run juuust out of a leaping Daulton Varsho’s reach, but he retired the next three batters.

That was it for Francis, which seemed like too quick of a hook to me. He’s stretched out for more than the 33 pitches he threw in his 2.2 innings, and Larnach notwithstanding he was pitching quite well. The Jays decided to call for Adam Cimber, though, and it proved to be a game losing mistake. He gave up a bunt single to Taylor, a soft line single dumped over Chapman’s head to Julien, and a fly ball single to Solano to load the bases with none out. He bounced back to strike Kiriloff out, but then gave up a grand slam to Carlos Correa. He gave up a single to Larnach and hit Castro before mercifully being pulled. Unfortunately, Mitch White was up next and he was immediately taken deep by Kepler to make it 8-3.

White (flag) mopped up in the ninth, allowing one more run on back to back doubles by Solano and Kiriloff.

Joe Ryan was pretty good today, but the Jays were finally able to string some hits together and manufacture a few runs against him.

They got on the board in the second, thanks to a Chapman walk, an Alejandro Kirk fielder’s choice that advanced him to second, and a Whit Merrifield line single that brought him in.

In the third, Brandon Belt lined a double into the right field corner, and Vladimir Guerrero jr cashed him in with a line single of his own. Unfortunately, Belt pulled up lame as he crossed the plate and had to leave the game with hamstring tightness.

Finally, in the fifth, George Springer doubled to lead off, Bo Bichette advanced him with a fly out, and Nathan Lukes (hitting for Belt) brought him home with a sac fly.

In the end they managed three runs on six hits, a walk, and a hit batter off the Twins young star, while striking out four times. It was a decent effort, although in the event not nearly enough.

Jorge Lopez worked a clean seventh inning around a Springer swinging bunt single.

In the eighth, Jose De Leon struck out Lukes, got a ground out from Guerrero, and popped Chapman out.

They didn’t go quietly, to their credit. Merrified managed a single in the ninth, and Varsho walked. Santiago Espinal lined a single into right to bring Merrifield in and make it 9-4. That chased De Leon from the game. Brock Stewart got Springer to ground into a double play, though, snuffing out any rally.

Jays of the Day: Richards (0.153), Francis (0.100), Merrifield (0.106)

Not so much: Cimber (-0.762, which has to be a season worst), White (-0.094 but only because that’s all the WPA there was left)

We’ll wrap things up tomorrow at 1:37pm ET. Kevin Gausman (5-3, 2.63) will try to stay on his recent Cy Young caibre form and salvage the series for Toronto, while the Twins will turn to Louie Varland (3-2, 4.40) to try to complete the sweep.