The Blue Jays made an amendment to a common baseball phrase on Sunday. Instead of a bloop and a blast, they employed a bloop, another bloop and a blast from Danny Jansen off Griffin Jax in the second inning to send them on their way to a 5-2 victory over the Twins and split the four-game set at Target Field.
The Blue Jays, who lead the majors in home runs, relied on three long balls and solid pitching to beat the Twins on Saturday. They repeated that formula to a lesser degree Sunday hitting two home runs while Alek Manoah gave up two runs over 5 ⅔ innings. Manoah (8-2) struck out eight as the Twins fanned 15 times on the sunny afternoon.
Byron Buxton tied a career high with his 16th home run in only 55 games played, but the Twins couldn't take advantage of other opportunities throughout the day, with Miguel Sano striking out looking with runners on second and third in the bottom of the eighth to end the Twins' last significant rally. They left eight runners on base.
"At every point really we felt like we were absolutely in the game," manager Rocco Baldelli said. "A base runner and a big swing away from something happening. We got beat today, every way you kind of look at it. We got slightly outplayed by the opposition by a good team."
The Blue Jays took advantage of one big opportunity where the Twins didn't. In the second Corey Dickerson and Santiago Espinal hit bloop singles that just found a way to fall between Twins fielders in short left and short left-center.
Jensen then cracked an 0-2 pitch from Jax 402 feet to left-center to put Toronto up 3-0, a lead the Blue Jays wouldn't relinquish as they try to stay alive in the American League wild-card race.
"I got ahead 0-2 and just tried to go fastball up," Jax said. "Didn't get it completely there so it was more just upset that I didn't get the pitch where I needed to, rather than the two at-bats before that."
Jax surrendered four runs over five innings and gave up another home run to George Springer, who homered for the second time in as many days. Jax, a rookie, has given up a team-high 23 home runs in only 77 innings pitched.
"Those two home runs were the only thing that beat me today," Jax said. "So with it all being said, I was happy with today."
Jake Cave got the Twins on the board in the first with an RBI single to right that scored Mitch Garver. Buxton took an inside fastball from Alek Manoah and put it in the bullpen in left center for a solo shot in the fifth.
"With a guy like Buck, you just don't really have a — no one really has a concept of just what he's capable of doing," Baldelli said. "You think he's capable of things that you don't see in the game from anyone."
But Toronto's pitching clamped down otherwise, with Tim Mayza striking out three hitters in one inning of relief.
Jordan Romano picked up a four-out save, his 21st, by also striking out three.
"Just a tough day trying to get stuff going," Baldelli said.
Ryan to start Thursday
Joe Ryan is set to start on Thursday vs. Detroit after he comes off the family medical emergency/bereavement list, Baldelli said. The Twins didn't want to rush Ryan back to the mound after being away from the team for a few days.
"We want to make sure he's able to settle in, throw a bullpen at some point when he returns and he's ready to go," Baldelli said. Baldelli said Tuesday's starter is still to be determined.
LOTS O' LONG BALLS
Griffin Jax has given up 23 home runs in 77 innings this season. The rookie needs 10 homerless innings to avoid setting the record for most homers per nine innings by a Twins pitcher (minimum 60 IP):
2.69 Griffin Jax, 2021
2.38 Sean Bergman, 2000
2.33 Scott Aldred, 1997
2.24 Matt Shoemaker, 2021
2.16 Kevin Slowey, 2007
2.15 Benj Sampson, 1999
2.10 Nick Blackburn, 2012
2.09 Pat Mahomes, 1995
2.07 Jim Deshaies, 1994
2.04 Eddie Guardado, 2000