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Photo Credit: © Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Twins walk off Jays in a back-and-forth affair

Baseball is a game of highs and lows, and we witnessed all of them tonight at the Blue Jays dropped a heartbreaker to the Twins 6-5 in 10 innings on Friday night.

A lot happened in the bottom of the 10th, starting with Jake Cave striking out on a ball in the dirt, but Danny Jansen couldn’t complete a tough throw to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at first base. This allowed Cave to reach at first, and ghost runner Nick Gordon moved to third. Blue Jays Sportsnet analyst Caleb Joseph argued after the game that Vladdy didn’t give Jansen a clean window to throw the ball. The next batter, Tim Beckham grounded a ball to Matt Chapman at third. Chapman tried to throw Gordon out at home, but he short-hopped his throw, Jansen couldn’t secure the ball, and Gordon scored.

It’d be easy to point to the meltdown in the 10th inning as the reason for the loss, but those types of plays simply happen sometimes. Danny Jansen has had to make tough plays like that before; the ball just didn’t bounce Toronto’s way in the 10th. Truth be told, they were in that position largely due to another tough road start from Jose Berrios.

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The heart of Berrios’ rough night was the 4th inning, in which the Twins tagged him for four runs. Already trailing 1-0, Jose Miranda hit an RBI single to drive in Carlos Correa. The next batter, Nick Gordon, crushed a 3-run home run to right field, giving Minnesota a 5-0 lead. John Schneider gave Berrios a chance to get out of the inning, but he allowed two more baserunners, forcing Schneider to go to Trevor Richards.

Berrios needed the offense to back him up, and it looked to be a tall task with Tyler Mahle cruising through the Blue Jays order the throughout the first 4 innings. Mahle was acquired by the Twins on Tuesday, and he was making his first start with his new team tonight. Matt Chapman finally got to him in the 5th, lacing a home run to right center field. It was Chapman’s 21st home run on the season, and he is quietly now second on the team in homers, only trailing Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

With one out in the 6th inning, Santiago Espinal smacked a breaking ball deep to right field for his 7th home run of the year, cutting the lead to 5-2. The next batter, Whit Merrifield, reached on an infield single to shortstop, setting up Vlad Jr., who cranked his 23rd home run of the season to center field. Guerrero knew it as soon as he hit it, emphatically flipping his bat towards the Blue Jays dugout after admiring the blast. It even inspired some “Let’s go Blue Jays” chants throughout Target Field.

The Jays stranded two baserunners in the 8th inning, but the bottom part of Toronto’s order came through in the 9th against another recent Twins acquisition, Jorge Lopez. Singles from Bo Bichette and Danny Jansen occupied first and second, giving Raimel Tapia the chance to be the hero. Tapia flared a single into center field, scoring Bichette, in one of the more clutch hits of the season. Worthy side note: leave it to a former Trash Bird to blow it for the Twins. Once an Oriole, always an Oriole.

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A MAJOR tip of the cap deserves to go the Blue Jays bullpen, who did not allow a single run until the 10th. Yimi Garcia deserves Cy Young votes after his 9th inning tonight; with the bases loaded with one out, Garcia struck out Miranda, and got Gordon to fly out to get out of the inning. Both of those at-bats were extremely high pressure, and Garcia did a great job to keep the game going.

The Jays will look to rebound tomorrow evening, as Mitch White gets his first start as a Blue Jay against Dylan Bundy.


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