Twins defeat Blue Jays 9-4 behind disastrous eighth inning
Photo credit:Toronto Blue Jays
By Evan Stack5 months ago
The late innings of the past two games have not been fun…at all.
The Blue Jays led 3-0 throughout most of the game, but the Twins scored seven runs in the 8th inning to down Toronto 9-4 on Saturday afternoon. This was the first time this season that Toronto did not have one of their five regular starting pitchers on the mound, as Alek Manoah’s tough start to the season has him down to the Florida Complex League.
Trevor Richards served as the opener for today’s game with recent call-up Bowden Francis being the favourite to eat up some more innings. It was Adam Cimber and Mitch White that surrendered the damage in the later innings, and the Blue Jays lost their first series since their late-May set in Tampa.
Blue Jays Nation’s Player of the Game: Trevor Richards
Richards is no stranger to having to start a game. In fact, this was his 57th career start and his fifth as a member of the Blue Jays. He was stellar, striking out seven Twins batters over three innings. He only allowed one hit and walk, and even retired eight in a row at one point. Richards threw 53 pitches which is the most he has thrown in one outing since September 17, 2020, when he was with the Rays.
Richards has earned another start for this team in Manoah’s absence, and it’s worth wondering how much he’s willing to be stretched out.
Things worth mentioning
The Blue Jays were 3-for-6 with RISP and one 2-out RBI. Whit Merrifield, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Santiago Espinal all had RBI singles, and Nathan Lukes pitched in with a sac fly. Lukes was in the game due to an unfortunate injury to Brandon Belt. On Guerrero’s RBI hit, Belt slowed up a few steps before home plate, immediately reached for his hamstring, and limped into the dugout. It was reported that he left the game with left hamstring tightness.
Richards and Tim Mayza pitched 4.1 scoreless innings to open the game, but after Mayza allowed a single with one out in the 5th, John Schneider threw Bowden Francis in the game. Francis tossed 2.2 innings, allowing two hits, one run, no walks, and three strikeouts. He averaged 95 mph on the fastball and mixed in both the slider and curveball effectively. His curveball sat around 75 mph which was a nice change of pace in several of his at-bats. The one mistake he made was allowing a solo home run to Trevor Larnach. Francis left a fastball in the zone, and Larnach hit it just over the wall in center field. Daulton Varsho almost got to it, but it continued the trend of near-home run robberies against the Twins for him.
It was reported that Francis was built up close to 80 pitches, so one could assume that he was in line to finish the game or maybe get them to the 9th inning. Schneider, however, opted to pull him after 33 pitches and turn to Adam Cimber for the 8th inning. Cimber got into some trouble to kick off the frame and ultimately allowed a grand slam to Carlos Correa to give Minnesota a 5-3 lead. After putting two more runners on base, Mitch White made his 2023 debut and was not greeted nicely. His first batter faced, Max Kepler, smoked a three-run homer to right field that put the game out of reach.
White finished the game for the Blue Jays, but he allowed three hits and two runs while striking out four.
What’s Next: Toronto will turn to their ace in Kevin Gausman tomorrow afternoon in hopes of avoiding the sweep. Louie Varland, who the Jays hit two home runs off of earlier this season, gets the nod for Minnesota.
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