Three extras from a disappointing night at Target Field — except for all the Blue Jays fans:
Josh Donaldson’s rampage against the Twins continued on Saturday, this time with a 4-for-5 night that included a pair of long home runs. Donaldson is now 58-for-149 lifetime against Minnesota, a .389 average that includes 17 home runs, three in this series. No other player with as many homers as Donaldson has played fewer than 50 games vs. the Twins, so it’s probably good he’s never played in the AL Central.
Donaldson’s first home run was both amazing and annoying to Paul Molitor. The amazing part is that the pitch he hit wasn’t a strike — Adalberto Mejia threw a fastball that was at least a couple inches above the strike zone, but Donaldson somehow caught it with his uppercut and launched it about 375 feet high and 375 feet deep.
That it was a fastball at all was the annoying part to the manager, though.
“You throw seven fastballs to the first hitter, then you’ve got an ambush hitter coming up second and you him throw another fastball,” Molitor complained. “Things like that [cost Mejia] more than his stuff.”
The Blue Jays’ three-run eighth inning, which included several “Let’s Go Jays!” chants by the huge contingent of Canadians among the crowd of 29,917, ended with an odd play — though it may not look like it in the play-by-play, which simply reads “Richard Urena strikes out swinging.”
It wasn’t quite that simple. With the bases loaded and two outs, Urena did indeed swing over an 0-2 slider from Michael Tonkin, but the ball landed in the dirt and not in Jason Castro’s glove. Urena correctly took off for first base, hoping the dropped third strike could turn into a break for the Jays, while Castro spun around looking for the ball, which was at his feet.
Since the bases were loaded, each baserunner had to run, too, and Jose Bautista broke for the plate as Castro tried to get his bearings. With Bautista bearing down on him, Castro suddenly spotted the ball and snatched it off the ground, then quickly stepped on home plate, getting the force out on Bautista. The play was scored a strikeout and fielder’s choice; though the putout is credited to Castro either way, it was Bautista, who slid across the plate a second too late, who was out, not Urena.
It was a pretty solid night for the Twins’ bullpen, even if Trevor Hildenberger had some bad luck on relatively routine ground balls.
Dillon Gee bailed out Mejia in the fourth inning, taking over a two-on, no-out situation and finishing the inning without a run. He got seven outs in all, and now owns a stretch of nine scoreless relief innings.
Alan Busenitz retired all five batters he faced, too, three of them on strikeouts and one on a typically incredible catch at the wall by Byron Buxton. Busenitz has a 1.09 ERA in his last 24 2/3 innings, dating back to June 22.
And Michael Tonkin retired three of the fourth batters he faced, too, mixing in only a walk to Russell Martin. He has a 2.45 ERA in three appearances since returning to the Twins earlier this month.