Blue Jays can finally exhale following much-needed win over host Twins – best2daynews


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At Target Field Friday night against the host Minnesota Twins, the Blue Jays weren’t exactly on target, but they weren’t that far off, either.

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The visitors did not extract their best, but when so much has been going wrong, when so many games have been lost and when so many troublesome questions have been raised, a win by any means will be viewed as an elixir.

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One game won’t change the fortunes of this team, but a win was a must and at least the Jays didn’t have to explain why they couldn’t beat an AL East rival.

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Then again, the Twins aren’t in the same division.

Minnesota’s bats were conspicuously silent, but credit Toronto’s pitching and in particular its bullpen as the Blue Jays held on for a 3-1 victory.

Nate Pearson, for one, looked good in a high-leverage situation.

Kevin Gausman was rolling until he got into trouble in the sixth inning, prompting the Jays to replace their starter with reliever Erik Swanson.

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Walks would eventually end Gausman’s outing.

In his previous 10 starts, Gausman walked a combined 11 batters.

In 5.1 innings Friday, he issued five free passes.

Swanson hadn’t pitched since last weekend when he looked off point.

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He caught a break when a pitch that was low and outside the strike zone was ruled a strike when it should have been called a ball on a full count.

Had it been correctly called, the Twins would have walked in a run after they loaded the bases.

A routine grounder would end the inning, which did see the Twins score one run.

Toronto scored its three runs in the third inning on two out homers from Kevin Kiermaier, who belted a solo blast, and a two-run homer by Bo Bichette.

The Jays arrived in the Land of 10,000 Lakes mired in a losing skid that saw them drop nine of their past 11 games, losing back-to-back-to-back series against the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles at home and on the road against Tampa during a four-game set.

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Toronto’s two wins were produced on a walk-off homer by Danny Jansen in 10 innings versus the Bronx Bombers and the epic 20-1 beatdown against the Rays, who resorted to having positional players on the mound in retiring the final six outs.

In the series finale, the Rays stole more bases than they produced hits in a 6-3 win.

Following Toronto’s disheartening loss, a players-only meeting was held.

“It’s just one of those stretches, unfortunately, now, it’s just about getting it stopped,” said Matt Chapman, whose hot bat in April has cooled off substantially in May.

“We’ve swept teams then gotten swept. We’ve won series then lost a few series. We’ve been really inconsistent. It’s just been up to us as a team to start playing better. I think that’s just it. There’s nothing I can say besides we need to play better.”

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Attention to detail was hammered home from the start of training camp, but it has eluded the team during this recent run of futility.

“In a perfect world, players are driving this, you know what I mean? They’re living it, they have a set of standards they live by, and right now, not up to their expectations,’’ said manager John Schneider.

“It carries more weight from the players. Obviously, myself and the staff are here to support that. Me personally, I think when players are holding themselves accountable and when players are living what we’re expecting, I think the message is delivered a little bit more firmly.”

So much for the behind-closed-door gathering.

How else does one explain how Springer gets caught in a run down after beginning the night with a double and Vlad Jr. getting picked off at first in the rarest of double plays to end the first inning.

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It was inexcusable and yet so typical of Toronto’s play, best described as sloppy.

As the game played out, it was the one and only instance of self-implosion on a night when the Blue Jays played much cleaner and with greater confidence.

Jays Twins
Kevin Gausman of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning at Target Field on May 26, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by David Berding /Getty Images


The Jays officially placed Jansen on the 10-day IL Friday, a move many had expected after the catcher was hurt in Tampa when running out a ground ball.

With Jansen serving as his battery mate against visiting Baltimore last weekend, Alek Manoah issued only one walk.

While it was not solely Alejandro Kirk’s fault, the Manoah-Kirk tandem did not look in sync Thursday against the Rays.

Jansen hasn’t exactly been wielding a hot bat this season, but he has nonetheless belted two homers, while hitting .251 over his past five games.

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To replace Jansen on the active roster, the Blue Jays called up catcher Tyler Heineman from Triple-A Buffalo.

Heineman joined the Jays in Tampa after he was placed on the team’s taxi squad.

He’s known for his ability to call games and his defence.

Kirk, though, is expected to handle the load at catcher.


Daulton Varsho made a noble effort in left field when he dove to his right trying to catch a liner.

He couldn’t secure the ball, but Varsho did make every attempt to record the out.

A night earlier, some eyebrows were raised when Varsho was pinch hit for Ernie Clement late in the game.

Given the pieces, namely Gabriel Moreno and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., the Jays sent to Arizona to acquire Varsho, the optics looked bad when the Jays took the bat out of Varsho’s hands for a journeyman.

Clement did knock in a run on a sac fly.

In the ninth inning Friday, Varsho hit into a double play.



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