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Question of the Day
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - What started as a bad day for the Toronto Blue Jays turned into a record-breaking disaster by night’s end.
Minnesota scored three straight runs on wild pitches by the Toronto’s Sergio Santos in the eighth inning, when the Twins walked eight times off three relievers in rallying for a 9-5 victory and a sweep of Thursday’s day-night doubleheader.
Steve Delabar walked two batters starting the six-run eighth, setting up Santos (0-1) for trouble as manager John Gibbons called for his closer early. Santos walked all three batters he faced, loading the bases with one out when he put on pinch-hitter Trevor Plouffe. The Twins cut the lead to 5-4 when Josmil Pinto came home on a wild pitch.
“I’m obviously one of the main guys to blame there. I put us in a bad situation,” Delabar said. “That was brutal.”
The collapse by the Blue Jays‘ bullpen only got worse.
Ball four by Santos to pinch-hitter Kurt Suzuki was wild, too, allowing Chris Herrmann to score and tie the game. Santos threw another wild pitch to Brian Dozier, and pinch-runner Pedro Florimon raced home for the lead.
J.A. Happ relieved Santos, who took his first blown save in five chances this year. Happ walked two more and then Jason Kubel broke open the game with a two-run single, the only hit of the inning.
Santos, who has been handling the ninth-inning role while Casey Janssen is on the disabled list with a strained back, threw only four strikes in 16 pitches.
“Coming into that situation, I had to be perfect,” Santos said. “Looking back on it now, I felt like I was trying to be too perfect there. Tough, obviously. When you see the position guys go out and play in this cold weather, so many innings, it’s just a long day.”
The eight walks allowed is a team record, breaking the previous mark of seven free passes issued in the first inning on June 21, 1994, against Boston.
The previous time a team walked eight times in one inning was April 19, 1996, when Texas did so against Baltimore. The record of 11 was set by the Washington Senators against the New York Yankees on Sept. 11, 1949.
Casey Fien (2-0) pitched a scoreless eighth for the victory.
Jose Bautista took over the AL lead with his sixth homer, a solo shot in the fifth inning. Bautista, who also walked and scored in the first, has gone deep 11 times in 14 games at the ballpark the Twins opened in 2010. That’s the same number of homers Joe Mauer has here in 256 games.
Toronto starter Dustin McGowan failed to finish the fifth. But all that was forgotten with the wildness that came later in the game. Gibbons said he’s never seen anything like what unfolded in the eighth.
“We couldn’t throw strikes. We didn’t pitch good all series,” he said. “It’s cold, all right. It’s cold for both sides. If you’re ever going to get to September or October in the playoffs, it’s going to be cold.”
Kyle Gibson (3-0) beat the Blue Jays in the first game, the coldest start, 31 degrees, for an outdoor game in Twins history. The young righty breezed through a Toronto lineup that totaled 20 runs in the previous two games.
The veteran Dickey didn’t handle the cold nearly as well.
“I’m traditionally a slow starter so hopefully I can get on track next time. The conditions weren’t a big deal for me today. It wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t something where I was coming in trying to soak my fingers in warm water to keep them warm. I just didn’t execute when I needed to make a big pitch, and they put good swings on it,” said Dickey, who’s ERA rose to 6.26.
Despite this dud, Dickey has pitched six-plus innings in two of his four starts.
After wintry weather forced postponement of Wednesday’s game, workers scrambled all morning to melt snow and ice from the seating areas, and the grounds crew dried the warning track.
It would have been better for the Blue Jays if the game was snowed out again.
“I’m sure once we get on the plane we’ll talk about it a little bit,” Santos said. “But once we land in Cleveland, it’s all Cleveland.”
NOTES: Dickey is 1-3 with a 6.58 ERA in six career starts against the Twins. … For the first time in 15 games this season, Blue Jays LF Melky Cabrera failed to get a hit. … Bautista is hitting .336 with 20 home runs in 39 career games against the Twins.
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