Series Sum-Up: Blue Jays vs. Twins
By: Emily (@JaysGirlEmily)
Canadian Baseball Network
Game 1: Thursday, September 14
Jays lose, 2-3 (10 innings)
Starting Pitcher: Brett Anderson
Losing Pitcher: Luis Santos
In their first time facing Minnesota starter Jose Berrios, the Jays were held scoreless for four innings. Despite loading the bases in the 2nd, and taking three walks on their first two trips through the order, Toronto didn’t crack the shutout until the 5th. Raffy Lopez led off that inning with a double, and then scored when Josh Donaldson hit a single to deep centre.
Brett Anderson also pitched four scoreless innings to start the game, aided by a double play in the 2nd, before he loaded the bases with three walks in the 5th. A Jorge Polanco single cashed in two of those, putting the Twins up 2-1. Anderson left the game in favour of Danny Barnes, who got a double play to end the inning. Things looked promising when Kendrys Morales took a 4-pitch walk to lead off the 6th, and moved up on a wild pitch. But Morales couldn’t score on a Ryan Goins single, and ultimately both batters were stranded. Barnes left a pair of runners aboard in the bottom of the 6th, then the Jays stranded another pair in the 7th. Justin Smoak tied it up in the 9th with a solo home run.
After Aaron Loup hit the leadoff man, Carlos Ramirez got a pop out and a double play, sending the game to extras. Kevin Pillar doubled with one out in the 10th and was stranded at third base. Luis Santos replaced Ramirez but took the loss when Byron Buxton hit a two-out walkoff home run.
Game 2: Friday, September 15
JAYS WIN!! 4-3
Winning Pitcher: J.A. Happ
Save: Roberto Osuna
The tale of this game was much like the one that preceded it – only this time the Jays completed the comeback. Bartolo Colon set down the first eight Jays hitters he faced, until Teoscar Hernandez hit a single in the 3rd. Minnesota scored one in the 3rd thanks to a bases-loaded, no-outs sac fly from Joe Mauer. They added to the lead with a run in each of the next two innings – Chris Gimenez hit an RBI single in the 4th, then Brian Dozier led off the 5th with a home run.
Kevin Pillar got one run back for Toronto with a leadoff home run in the top half of the 5th, and Josh Donaldson followed him with a leadoff homer in the 6th. At that point, it was 3-2. Pillar led off again in the 7th, and walked on four pitches. Russell Martin then cashed him in with his second double of the night, and that was it for Colon. Ryan Goins reached on a bunt to the pitcher, which moved Martin to third, and two outs later Donaldson singled on a ball off the pitcher’s glove, and Martin scored to put the Jays ahead. Justin Smoak then walked to load the bases, but Jose Bautista grounded out and ended the rally.
Happ got one out in the 7th and then his night was over. In 6 1/3 innings he’d allowed three runs on seven hits, one walk, and five strikeouts. The Blue Jays relievers kept the Twins hitless for the rest of the game. Dominic Leone retired the last two of the 7th, then Ryan Tepera threw a nine-pitch 8th that included a strikeout. Finally, Roberto Osuna faced three batters and got a ground out, a fly out and a strikeout to pick up the save.
Game 3: Saturday, September 16 (night game)
JAYS WIN!! 7-2
Winning Pitcher: Marco Estrada
The Jays put up a 1-run lead in the 1st when Josh Donaldson went deep on the first pitch he saw from Adalberto Mejía. It wasn’t until the 4th that another runner (for either team) got on base, and again it was Donaldson. He led off the top of the 4th with a single, then scored when Justin Smoak hit a double. Jose Bautista and Kendrys Morales each singled, and Smoak scored. Kevin Pillar flew out and Russell Martin hit into a double play to end the inning.
The first Twins hit was an Eddie Rosario home run to lead off the 5th. Five of the six outs in the 6th were strikeouts; a Bautista double and a Brian Dozier single were stranded. Marco Estrada walked Rosario in the 7th, but nothing came of it. Ezequiel Carrera pinch-hit in the 8th and led off with a single. After Donaldson singled, Smoak was intentionally walked, and a Bautista pop-up fell between fielders, then Dozier kicked it away which resulted in two runs scoring. Morales singled to bring in another run.
Eduardo Escobar hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the 8th, making it 6-2. But Donaldson matched him in the 9th, hitting his 28th homer of the season to center field. Estrada’s night was over at that point, after 8 innings with 2 runs allowed, and Matt Dermody stranded a Joe Mauer leadoff double to seal the win. Dermody then had a bit of a brain lapse, walking to the dugout at the end of the 9th rather than going to shake with the catcher. A laughing Marcus Stroman turned him around.
Game 4: Sunday, September 17
Jays lose, 7-13
Losing pitcher: Joe Biagini
The Jays had a 5-0 lead in the 2nd. Josh Donaldson hit a mammoth home run in the 1st, then they loaded the bases on three walks, Ryan Goins walked in a run, and Raffy Lopez hit a two-run single. Richard Urena, the ninth batter of the inning, struck out to end it. Donaldson hit another homer in the 2nd. Then Biagini got into a bit of a mess. Eddie Rosario and Byron Buxton hit back-to-back home runs to start. After one out, Biagini allowed two singles, then a walk to load the bases. Brian Dozier drove one in with a single, Tim Mayza took over from Biagini, and Ryan Goins booted a ground ball which allowed two runs.
With the game now tied, another run scored on a force out, then a single, and Buxton hit an RBI double off Luis Santos before the inning ended at 7-5 Twins. Nobody scored again until the 5th, which Chris Rowley pitched. Leadoff man Eduardo Escobar singled, stole second, and got to third on a Lopez throwing error. He scored on a single, then two more singles loaded the bases for a Joe Mauer grand slam. After Rowley finally got an out, Rosario homered again to put Minnesota up 13-5.
The Jays got two more runs in the 7th thanks to an Ezequiel Carrera double, Donaldson walk, Justin Smoak double, and a Jose Bautista groundout which scored Donaldson. Matt Dermody threw two scoreless innings on two hits and Leonel Campos threw one inning.
When Brett Anderson left Thursday’s game in the fifth inning, it was reported that he had a ‘hot spot’ on his index finger, which is the sign of a blister developing. He made his thoughts on what was to blame pretty clear on Twitter.
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
Donaldson's 481-foot home run in the 1st inning Sunday is estimated to be the second-longest in the history of Target Field.
My Favourite Player(s) of the week: Estrada/Donaldson
Marco Estrada had a heck of a game. He started his outing with four perfect innings, and then only allowed four baserunners over the next four. He may have allowed two home runs, but those were two of only three hits he allowed. Estrada’s always been a fly ball pitcher and that was about as sharp as we’ve ever seen him. He walked one, and struck out four. As long as his team’s giving him run support, I’ll take that kind of start every single time. At eight innings, this was his longest start of the season. He needed 101 pitches to get 24 outs, 70 of which were strikes.
Josh Donaldson absolutely destroyed the ball this series. He had a three-hit game on Friday, followed by a four-hit game on Saturday. He had two consecutive two-homer games. Overall, he batted 10-for-17 with three walks, five home runs, and a double. He drove in seven runs and scored eight. That's just complete domination. At one point he had a string of at-bats that looked like this:
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