Tue, 19 Oct 2021

Blue Jays try to continue September surge vs. Twins

Field Level Media
18 Sep 2021, 17:05 GMT+10

The Toronto Blue Jays will make a second attempt at winning their 14th game in September on Saturday afternoon when they play the visiting Minnesota Twins.

Toronto lost for only the third time this month when it fell 7-3 to the Twins on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series and the first meeting between the teams since 2019.

The Blue Jays (82-65) are involved in a tight American League wild-card race and need to try to take advantage of non-contenders such as the Twins. Toronto sits a one game behind the Boston Red Sox (84-65) and a half-game behind the New York Yankees (83-65) in the wild-card chase.

The Twins (65-83) have won eight straight games at the Rogers Centre dating to 2017.

The Blue Jays will start left-hander Steven Matz (12-7, 3.87 ERA) on Saturday. He has faced the Twins once in his career, taking a no-decision on July 16, 2019, when he was with the New York Mets. He allowed two runs, five hits and one walk over four innings.

The Twins will start right-hander Bailey Ober (2-2, 4.12 ERA), who has never faced the Blue Jays.

Toronto first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his 46th home run of the season on Friday, a solo blast to left. He tied Joe DiMaggio (1937) for the second most home runs in a season by a player aged 22 or younger, trailing only Eddie Mathews, who hit 47 in 1953. His 46 homers are tied with Jose Canseco for the third most in a season in franchise history.

The Twins had four home runs on Friday: a two-run blast by Jorge Polanco and solo shots by Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sano, all three in succession in the third inning, and a solo blast by Brent Rooker in the sixth.

The three consecutive homers marked the 10th time in team history that the Twins have done it and the first time since April 26, 2019, against the Baltimore Orioles.

A concerning aspect of the loss for the Blue Jays was the performance of starter Hyun Jin Ryu, who allowed five runs in two-plus innings.

The left-hander allowed a single, double and two homers to his only four batters in the third before he was replaced. It was his shortest outing in two seasons with Toronto. He allowed seven runs in 2 1/3 innings against the Baltimore Orioles in his previous start.

"When he's really good, he commands all his pitches," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. "Right now he is having a struggle with his command."

Montoyo said he feels that Ryu has the ability to make the necessary adjustments.

"He'll be fine," the manager added.

Donaldson, a former Blue Jay who won the AL MVP with Toronto in 2015, received a standing ovation when he came to bat in the first inning on Friday. He tipped his batting helmet.

"I can't lie," the third baseman said. "It's nice to get back here and play in front of these fans and in this stadium where I have so many good memories."

He was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 2018 and made his return to the Rogers Centre in 2019 as a member of the Atlanta Braves.

The Twins are without shortstop Andrelton Simmons for the series because of visa issues.

Minnesota recalled right-hander Nick Vincent, who has pitched in two games for them this season, from Triple-A St. Paul. Left-hander Andrew Albers was sent to the Saints.

--Field Level Media

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