Series Sum-Up: Twins vs. Blue Jays

 Lourdes Gurriel Jr. went 6-for-14 in last week's series against the Minnesota Twins. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. went 6-for-14 in last week's series against the Minnesota Twins. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

By Emily @JaysGirlEmily

Blue Jays from Away

Game 1: Monday, July 23
Jays lose, 3-8
Losing pitcher: Luis Santos

The first batter of the ballgame, Joe Mauer, scored what would eventually be the winning run. He hit a leadoff double against Luis Santos, starting a bullpen day for the Jays. Eduardo Escobar drove him in with a triple. Santos completed two innings without allowing another run, while the Blue Jays batters stranded a pair in the first. With runners at the corners, Teoscar Hernandez hit a fly ball that was almost lost in the lights by the left fielder. But Eddie Rosario recovered at the last second to make the catch for the out. The Twins added to their lead against Tim Mayza with a single, a force out, a walk, another force out, and a Logan Morrison two-run single.

The Jays got on the board thanks to a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. home run in the third, but they stranded two singles right after that. Mayza gave up two hits in the fourth, which both scored after Aaron Loup entered and also gave up two hits. Morrison led off the fifth with a home run, then Joe Biagini surrendered a single and a two run home run to Max Kepler. The first three Blue Jays in the sixth inning singled, but were left on base following two strikeouts and a fly out. Adalberto Mejía only got the first out of that inning, but went on to take the win with 5 1/3 innings pitched and one run allowed. The Jays stranded 13 baserunners total, matching a season high.

All eight of Minnesota’s runs were scored by different players. No Twins batter reached base from the sixth onward, as Jake Petricka pitched a perfect inning, and Jaime Garcia followed with three. Petricka had two strikeouts, and Garcia had three. The Blue Jays picked up a pair of runs in the ninth off Fernando Rodney. Justin Smoak doubled, then got to third on a wild pitch, as Teoscar Hernandez walked. Yangervis Solarte scored Smoak with a sac fly, and Kendrys Morales had an RBI single for the other run.

Game 2: Tuesday, July 24
Jays lose, 0-5
Losing Pitcher: Ryan Borucki

Neither of Ryan Borucki’s runs were earned as he went six innings, including no-hitting the Twins’ lineup his first time through. He allowed a pair of singles in the fourth, then allowed two more in the fifth, one of which was an infield single where Yangervis Solarte’s throw pulled Justin Smoak off the bag. Up to that point, the Blue Jays had only three hits and a walk against Jose Berrios. One of the hits was a bloop double from Solarte in the second, which was followed with a single from Morales. That was probably Toronto’s best chance to score, as they came with only one out in the inning.

Berrios struck out nine in a seven-inning start. The Twins scored a pair in the top of the sixth, as Joe Mauer reached and took second on an error by the left fielder Hernandez. Mauer took third on a ground out (one of Devon Travis’ three impressive plays of the game) then scored on a sac fly from Brian Dozier. Back-to-back doubles scored a second run. A leadoff Lourdes Gurriel Jr. single in the bottom of the inning was erased on a double play.

John Axford (Port Dover, Ont.) pitched a perfect seventh inning on only seven pitches, and ran into trouble in the eighth. After he issued a leadoff walk to Mauer, Eddie Rosario singled and stole second. Axford then got a strikeout, but Eduardo Escobar followed and hit a three-run homer. Aaron Loup had to be brought in to finish the inning. The Blue Jays hit into another double play in the eighth, this time erasing a single by Travis. Seunghwan Oh pitched the ninth.

Game 3: Wednesday, July 25 (Day game)
Jays lose, 12-6 (11 innings)
Starting Pitcher: Sam Gaviglio
Losing Pitcher: Jake Petricka

The Blue Jays tied up this game twice but it was not enough to take the win in extra innings. They took a one-run lead in the first inning, thanks to a single, a walk, and a double from Kendrys Morales (Max Kepler fell over while making the play). The Twins immediately took a 3-1 lead with three hits, two walks and a force out that scored a run. After the first two Blue Jays reached in the second, Randal Grichuk on a double and Dwight Smith Jr. after being hit with a pitch, Aledmys Diaz scored Grichuk with a sacrifice fly. Luke Maile caught a baserunner stealing in the fourth, and stole a base of his own in the bottom half of that inning.

But it wasn’t until the fifth that the Jays tied it at three runs apiece. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. doubled, Justin Smoak singled, and Morales hit another sacrifice fly to score Gurriel. Shortly after that, Aaron Loup replaced Gaviglio and the Twins retook the lead with a solo home run from Mitch Garver. Garver drove in another run in the eighth, as Joe Biagini faced three batters and gave up three hits. Once Ryan Tepera replaced Biagini, Joe Mauer drove in another run with a double. That gave the Twins the 6-3 lead.

The Blue Jays countered in the bottom of that inning with a single, a double, a four-pitch walk to Teoscar Hernandez, Maile’s third hit of the day (a two-run single) and a Diaz forceout which scored Hernandez. Trevor Hildenberger was charged with the blown save, and Matt Belisle had to pitch the ninth for Minnesota. He give up two singles, but with men on first and third, Yangervis Solarte lined out to the shortstop, and Morales was caught too far off the first base bag. That ended the inning with the winning run 90 feet from home.

Jaime Garcia pitched the ninth and tenth, retiring all six batters he faced. A leadoff single was stranded for the Jays in the bottom of the 10th. Then Jake Petricka, entering for the 11th, allowed a two-out double, walked two batters on nine pitches, and hit Max Kepler to force in a run. John Gibbons was ejected from the game while making a pitching change. Luis Santos allowed two consecutive doubles and two singles, scoring five total runs, before finally getting the third out of the inning. The Twins sent 11 batters to the plate in the frame. Eight reached, and six of them scored.

Overall Notes:

Tim Mayza all was optioned to triple-A Buffalo after Monday’s game to replace Ryan Borucki, who was recalled to make the start on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, it was announced mid-game that Seunghwan Oh was traded to the Colorado Rockies. The Blue Jays received two minor league infielders in the deal, Chad Spanberger and Forrest Wall.

The day after that, JA Happ was traded to the Yankees, also for two players, Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney. Drury is an infielder who missed much of the early season with concussion symptoms. He was hitting .176 with the Yankees so far, in 18 games. He hit .294 in 55 games at Triple-A. McKinney is an outfield prospect who has played two games in the majors. The Blue Jays actually allowed his first and only major-league hit during the opening series in Toronto.

The Blue Jays made another acquisition this week, claiming right-handed reliever Oliver Drake off waivers from the Angels.

Weirdly Specific Record Alert:

- With a ninth-inning single, Wednesday made Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s eighth consecutive game with multiple hits. That establishes a new Blue Jays rookie record, after he tied Al Woods’ 1977 seven-game streak the day before.

My favourite player(s) this series: Borucki/Gurriel

Ryan Borucki took the loss, but didn’t allow any earned runs, dropping his ERA below 3.00. He allowed only six hits, struck out two, and didn’t walk anybody. Of those six hits, only the final two were for extra bases. Borucki was efficient, facing 24 batters and using 89 pitches, 62 of which were strikes.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. made history in this series, as well as being one of the Blue Jays most productive bats. He had six hits in 14 at-bats, including a home run and a double, scored twice, walked once, and drove in a run.

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Emily

Emily is a Communications student who grew up with a Roy Halladay poster on the back of her door. A baseball history nerd, she played softball for nine years and changes her favourite Blue Jay on a regular basis. She fondly remembers going to her first Jays game at age six with her father, and spending the whole time staring at the elevators going up the CN Tower.