TORONTO — Walks will punish any pitcher, even those who rarely give them up.
Home runs, too.
So the Twins were reminded Saturday, when starter Bailey Ober and reliever Jovani Moran combined to put six extra Blue Jays on base. Half of them scored, allowing Toronto to pull away to a 6-2 victory at Rogers Centre.
"There are lineups out there where you can make mistakes, you can walk guys, you can miss on some pitches," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "But this is not one of those lineups."
Sometimes the Twins' is. Former Blue Jays star Josh Donaldson blasted an opposite-field homer, his second in two days, beyond the bullpen in right field in the first inning, but his current team managed only four singles over the next eight innings against Toronto starter Steven Matz and four relievers.
Ober didn't give up a hit through the first three innings, though his streak of 19 innings without a walk was broken with four quick balls to ninth-place hitter Reese McGuire in the third. That hiccup did no harm when Ober ended the inning by striking out George Springer.
Things changed quickly in the fourth, as announced by second baseman Marcus Simien's leadoff home run to left field. Ober got ahead of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 0-and-2 but eventually walked him with his ninth pitch — perhaps understandably, given Guerrero's status as the major leagues' home-run leader. But it still amounted to the rookie righthander's first two-walk start in more than two months, since July 10.
"I thought I pitched that at-bat pretty well. I thought I got squeezed a little bit [by home plate umpire Tim Timmons], so that at-bat should have ended before he even got to that point," said Ober, who was charged with his first loss in a month. "But that's the game. The saying is that rookie pitchers don't get the 50-50 [pitches] and that happened today."
It was a costly mistake. Bo Bichette followed with a single, and Teoscar Hernandez lofted Ober's next pitch a foot or two over the left-field wall, putting the Blue Jays ahead for good. "Off the bat, I thought it was going to be a pop-up," Ober shrugged. "The ball just kept on going."
So did the Jays. In the seventh, rookie reliever Jovani Moran loaded the bases with walks to pinch hitter Alejandro Kirk, Springer and Guerrero. Kyle Barraclough relieved him, but Bichette lined his third single of the day over shortstop Nick Gordon's head, adding another two-run cushion on the Blue Jays' lead.