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Twins Beat Jays 3-2 in Extras

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

This was a tough loss. The Jays had chances, but just couldn’t capitalize. Unfortunately, that’s been the story of the season in a lot of ways. Once again, the Jays go 1 for 13 with runners on and score only two runs on 13 base runners.

The silver lining was that the pitching was very good again. Yusei Kikuchi turned in his third good outing in a row, Nate Pearson looked scary, and even Yimi Garcia worked a quality inning.

Hopefully the lineup can match them tomorrow.

We got the good Kikuchi tonight. He gave up a couple of base runners in the first, on a Donovan Solano fly ball double that Cavan Biggio probably should have gotten to and a Carlos Correa walk, but got out of it. He got a little help from his defence in the second, with Daulton Varsho running down a Christian Vazquez liner and Santiago Espinal ranging into right field to get to a Michae A Taylor flare that could have dropped in. The third and fourth innings were 1-2-3 and Kikuchi was looking smooth.

The Twins got to him in the fifth, though. Royce Lewis hit a soft grounder past the second base bag that Espinal made a nice play to get to, but Lewis beat out the throw. One batter later, Taylor hit a low breaking ball over the left field wall to put Minnesota up 2-0. Kikuchi recovered and finished the inning.

That would be it for him, even through he’d thrown only 82 pitches and allowed just 5 baserunners in 5 innings. He looked upset at being pulled, throwing something in the dugout and heading down the tunnel.

Nate Pearson took over for the sixth and seventh. He gave up a one out ground ball single to Correa in the sixth, but escaped with the help of an incredible Matt Chapman catch on a Kyle Farmer line drive:

In the seventh, he gave up a line single to Lewis, but drew a double play ball from Vazques and struck Taylor up with a pair of 101mph fastballs up. He looked like the Pearson we’ve been waiting to see, freezing guys with curves dropped in for strikes and blowing them away with gas up in the zone.

Yimi Garcia worked an easy eighth, striking out Alex Kiriloff (hitting for Solano) and Willi Castro and getting a fly out from Trevor Larnach.

Toronto turned to Erik Swanson in the ninth. He handled the Twins 4-5-6 hitter with ease, picking up a couple of Ks.

Adam Cimber worked the 10th. Royce Lewis hit a swinging bunt on which Chapman had no play, moving ghost runner Ryan Jeffers to third. Vazquez grounded it hard to Bichette, who looked Jeffers back to third and got the out at first. Taylor hit a soft fly to left and Merrifield made a great throw back to the plate that easily beat Jeffers, but Kirk dropped it and the Twins took a 3-2 lead. Tim Mayza came in to face lefty Kiriloff, who grounded out.

The lineup struggled with Sonny Gray. Whit Merrifield singled in the second for the Jays’ first baserunner, but Varsho hit what looked like a double that died on the track and they weren’t able to score him.

Tyler Heineman reached on a bunt in the third and Matt Chapman doubled off the right field wall in the fourth, but again the Jays couldn’t cash them in.

They finally figured it out in the fifth. Santiago Espinal worked a leadoff walk, Heineman hit a bloop single, and Bo Bichette hit a chopper that ticked off a diving Farmer’s fingertips and rolled into right field, scoring one. That was all they’d get off Gray, who surrendered 5 hits and a couple walks but never quite broke.

They did manage to tie the game in the sixth, though, facing tue bullpen. Espinal lined a single off Jovani Moran. Schneider called for George Springer to hit for Cavan Biggio, and Rocco Baldelli countered by pulling Moran for Brock Stewart. Springer won the exchange for his manager by lofting a double off the left field wall to bring Espinal home.

Stewart made it through the seventh, with some help from Vlad Guerrero jr, who reached on a high throw that pulled tue first baseman off tue bag but immediately got himself caught stealing.

Griffin Jax handled the eighth and got three straight fly outs.

They had a great chance to walk it off ij the ninth. Flamethrower Jhoan Duran hit Espinal in the forearm (luckily with a curve, not 104). Springer doubled off the wall but Espinal was held at third on a borderline decision. It made sense with nobody out, but in retrospect they would have been better off gambling. Alejandro Kirk hit a hard grounder that Willi Castro made a great grab on to get him at first. Bo struck out and the Twins decided to intentionally walk Guerrero to get to Brandon Belt. I guess the theory was that 36 year old Belt could catch up to Duran. As it happened they were wrong, as Belt turned around a 102mph fastball with a 108mph liner. Unfortunately, it was straight into Castro’s glove for the third out.

Kevin Kiermaier took over as the ghost runner for Belt in the bottom of the 10th. Chapman grounded out. Merrifield worked a walk to put the go-ahead run on. It didn’t help, though. Varsho struck out and Espinal popped out to end it.

Jays of the Day: Pearson (0.138), Garcia (0.104), Springer (0.439), Swanson (0.133)

Not So Much: Cimber (-0.220) has the number but really doesn’t deserve it. Neither does Belt (-0.326), really, although he was 0-5. Bichette (-0.123) had a rare rough game. Varsho (-0.224) had one as well. And Kirk (-0.144) did nothing in two pinch hit PAs and allowed the winning run when he missed a very makeable catch at the plate.

Game two goes tomorrow at 3:07pm ET. Joe Ryan (7-3, 2.76) goes for the Twins. The Jays haven’t announced a starter but Bowden Francis (0-2, 3.45 with AAA Buffalo) will presumably get the bulk of the innings, either starting or following an opener.