Twins 6 at Blue Jays 7
After a tough loss on Friday followed by an absolutely painful blown lead yesterday, the Blue Jays were facing down a sweep trailing late Sunday. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was a Blue Jay who has had one of the rougher seasons in 2023 to exorcise those demons. In the bottom of the 8th, with the Jays down 6-4 and 2 on with 2 out with the jays having trailed from the get-go, Cavan Biggio turned the tables:
It was a long and winding road (emphasis on long) to that point, and after a disastrous start was stabilized the Jays seemed destined to bang their heads against the ceiling for the rest of the afternoon without breaking through.
Kevin Gausman started the game by pegging the low outside corner to Edouard Julien for a called strike. It was pretty much all downhill from there. Julien continued to be a one man wrecking crew, smashing a single to right off Biggio’s barehand. A walk followed, before Alex Kirilloff followed with a fliner to the wall in right to make it 1-0.
After another walk to load the bases, Trevor Larnach added hard single to plate two, followed by an infield single for 4-0. To his credit, on the ropes Gausman did bear down to hold it there, with a strikeout and double play. And though he didn’t have anything close top his best stuff, another couple inning ending double plays kept the Twins off the board through the 4th.
For their part, the Jays answered back in the bottom of the first, with George Springer and Vladimir Guerrero whacking singles and the former scoring on the sav fly. They threatened Louis Varland again in the 3rd as the same two reached (walk and single), but this time Matt Chapman struck out to end the inning.
At this point the game has seemed to settle into a stalemate. Gausman has far from his best stuff, but be battled and thanks to another couple inning ending double plays kept the Twins off the board through the 4th.
His luck ran out the third time through the order, as Donovan Solano took him yard with one out in the 5th to break the impasse that had prevailed for three innings. With two out Carlos Correa doubled, and another walk ended Gausman’s afternoon. Thomas Hatch came allowed a single to plate one of the inherited runners and make it 6-1.
Once again, the Jays responded, this time more forcefully. Biggio led off the inning by hammering a single, and Springer walked to reach for a third time. The nascent uprising stalled as Bo Bichette flew out and Vladdy bounced out as the Twins traded an out for a run. But this time Matt Chapman picked it up, hammering a two run home run to put the Jays back in it at 6-4.
A couple infield singles by Daulton Varsho and Whit Merrifield followed, but were stranded. The Jays were similarly unable to take advantage of of an error and two out Varsho single in the 7th as sands continued slipping through the hourglass en route to a painful series sweep.
That brought us to the 8th. Alejandro Kirk led off with a single, And Santiago Espinal single to bring the go ahead run to the plate for the third time in four innings. This time they capitalized. Jordan Romano succeeded Nate Pearson for the 9th — who continued to be an X-factor in the bullpen with two scoreless innings featuring three strikes to hold the line.
After a control wobble to walk the tying run on base leading off, he proceeded the slam the door (though with a nervous breath on a ground ball up the middle that almost snuck through). had provided two s
Super Jay of the Day: Biggio (+.505 WPA). By win probability, he was literally single handedly responsible for the Jays’ win today.
Ordinary Jays of the Day: Romano (+.157) and Vlad (+.101 WPA). Honourable mention to Pearson (+.058) for the two scoreless to hold them and Chapman (+.032) for the HR to bring them close.
: Gausman (-.290) and Bo Bichette (-.190) with the rare 0-for-5 afternoon in 2023.
Tomorrow, the Jays
mercifully have an off-day to regroup prepare for the Orioles coming to town with Chris Bassitt scheduled to go Tuesday at 7:05 EDT with the Jays looking to break to their run of atrocious results against the AL East. (The ending necessitated to few edits to this section).