It was more of the same for the Blue Jays on Tuesday night, shut out for a second straight night by the Minnesota Twins — a 3-0 loss that guarantees the visitors will win the three-game series at the Rogers Centre.
Toronto went into the night lamenting a lack of production — the first time through the lineup in particular, a situation so dire that they called an afternoon team meeting.
But the bats stayed cold, with just four hits through the first eight innings. In the ninth, Randal Grichuk and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. singled to put runners on the corner and bring the potential tying run to the plate with two out. Twins reliever Taylor Rogers, though, retired Billy McKinney on a groundout to end it.
It was always going to be an uphill battle against Twins starter Jose Berrios, who has only surrendered one earned run in three career starts against Toronto. He is now tied with Arizona’s Zack Greinke for the most quality starts in the majors with seven.
Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez, who had his off-speed pitches working, notched his first quality start of the season.
Article Continued Below
The biggest cheer of the night from the crowd of 14,039 came just before the ninth inning, when the halftime score of the Raptors-Sixers game — 64-43 Toronto — was displayed on the Rogers Centre jumbotron.
- Don’t blame the pitching: Sanchez put last week’s rocky four-inning, five-run outing against the Los Angeles Angels in the rearview mirror by working seven solid innings. He allowed three runs on six hits with six strikeouts and three walks. The 26-year-old Sanchez got off to a shaky start, needing 31 pitches to get out of the first inning. After two singles and two walks, the Jays were down 1-0. That was all, though, until the sixth when he surrendered a single to Eddie Rosario and the big blow, a two-run homer by Mitch Garver, to put the Jays in a 3-0 hole. It was Sanchez’s longest outing since last September, and the seventh inning was the 500th of his career. “To go seven innings, to give that bullpen a much-needed rest, is my job to do and that’s all my focus was tonight,” said Sanchez. Ryan Tepera gave up two hits in a shutout eighth, while closer Ken Giles worked a 1-2-3 ninth.
- Vlad watch: A two-out single in the ninth — snapping an 0-for-12 slump — should help Vladimir Guerrero Jr., baseball’s top prospect, in the confidence department. Still, a 1-for-4 night leaves him batting .162. Perhaps the most concerning part is the strikeout total: 11 in 10 games, including one on Tuesday, for a player who arrived in the majors with a reputation for excellent plate discipline.
- Up next: The Jays — coming off back-to-back shutout losses for the first time since July 2015 — will look to avoid a sweep when right-hander Trent Thornton (0-3, 4.08) goes up against Twins righty Kyle Gibson (2-1, 4.68) in another 7 p.m. start at the Rogers Centre on Wednesday.
Laura Armstrong is a sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @lauraarmy
Published at Wed, 08 May 2019 02:08:08 +0000