|Lourdes Gurriel Jr. drove in a pair and scored a pair in a 9-3 come-from-behind win over the Twins|
After dropping the last game of the mini series against the Rays, the Blue Jays were looking to start the series that began in Minnesota tonight with a win. The Twins took 2/3 in Toronto back on June 3-5, but the Blue Jays outscored the Twins 21-20 in that series. Whit Merrifield (apparently newly vaxxed against COVID-19) made his Blue Jays debut tonight in CF. Righty relivers Anthony Bass and Zach Pop were also active tonight and in the bullpen. Catcher Zach Collins, righty Matt Peacock and lefty Matt Gage were all optioned back to AAA-ball in the corresponding moves. George Springer returned to the lineup as DH after missing the last 3 games with a sore elbow. Alek Manoah got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. Cavan Biggio was at 2B. Could the Blue Jays start the weekend series with a win? Here is tonight's game recap.
- The Twins opened the scoring in the bottom of the 3rd on a hit by pitch with the bases loaded that forced in Carlos Correa. Jose Miranda was drilled in the wrist by a fastball
- Sonny Gray pitching line: 5IP 1H 0R 5BB 5K 96 pitches (50 for strikes)
- The Blue Jays tied the game in the top of the 6th as Teoscar Hernandez hammered a solo bomb to the second deck in left
- Two batters later, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. singled scoring Bo Bichette
- Two batters later, Whit Merrifield singled home Gurriel Jr.
- The Twins got one back in the bottom half of the inning on a ground out by Miranda that scored Jorge Polanco
- Alek Manoah pitching line: 6IP 2H 2R (both earned) 4BB 5K 97 pitches (59 for strikes)
- The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 8th as Gurriel Jr. singled home Bichette
- Four batters later, George Springer singled scoring Merrifield and Gurriel Jr.
- A batter later, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. belted a 3-run bomb to left; also scoring Biggio and Springer
- The Twins got one back in the bottom of the 9th as Jake Cave drilled a solo bomb to dead center
- Final score: Blue Jays 9 Twins 3
- Alek Manoah threw six solid innings, allowing a pair of runs on 2 hits while walking 4 and striking out 5. The umpire tonight was definitely no friend to the pitcher. There were 9 walks total through the first 6 innings between the two teams. Manoah also endured another comebacker off his pitching arm, though this time it was above the elbow and he stayed in the game
- The bullpen gave up a run on a hit while walking one and striking out 3 over the last 3 innings. Anthony Bass made his first appearance in a Blue Jays uniform since September 26, 2020 Bass struck out the first batter he faced, but then gave up a no-doubter to Jake Cave
- It was a tale of 2 games for the offence tonight. Through the first 5 innings, they had just one hit, but also drew 5 walks. In the 6th inning, the bats came alive with 3 runs on 4 hits, including Merrifield's first RBI in a Blue Jays uniform. He would score his first run in s Blue Jays uniform 2 innings later. Teo and Vlad both went yard for four of the runs scored (solo shot by Teo and 3-run jack by Vlad)
- This was probably the ideal series for Merrifield to make his debut - on the road and against an AL Central opponent, so Whit would be pretty familiar with the pitchers. Good on Merrifield for following through and getting the COVID vaccine
- Every Blue Jays starter reached base at least once and all but Alejandro Kirk and Matt Chapman had at least one hit
- Up next, the Blue Jays try to make it 2 straight wins. Ace Jose Berrios starts against Twins righty Tyler Mahle. By the way, Berrios is 2-1 against his former team with a 3.66 ERA in three starts since the Blue Jays acquired him at the 2021 trade deadline.