Blue Jays go deep to batter woeful Twins
Toronto Blue Jays centre fielder Ezequiel Carrera makes a diving catch to rob Minnesota Twins hitter Trevor Plouffe in the fourth inning Friday, May 20, 2016, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Before we start the proceedings, you might need a little perspective:
Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale has nine wins.
The Minnesota Twins are stuck on 10 wins ... 41 games into the season.
The good news for the Twins is that Sale does not start again until Tuesday.
As for the bad news ...
Well, let’s start with the fact that the Blue Jays are still in town for two more days. Whether it is the new lineup, the woeful Twins pitching or listening to boisterous cheers of Jays fans who didn’t mind driving anywhere from 8-12 hours from Manitoba and Saskatchewan ... it would appear that the Toronto bats are back in business.
They pounded out 14 hits on their way to a 9-3 win over the Twins before 29,316 fans at Target Field on Friday night. It was the Jays’ third highest run total this season.
Will they hang up an ‘Appearing One Night Only’ sign or will this offensive show be held over? That remains to be seen. An indication will come Saturday afternoon’s game when they face Pat Dean in his first major-league start.
The win was the Jays’ second in as many nights and moves them back to within two games of .500.
Right-hander Aaron Sanchez allowed a run in the second inning and another in the seventh as he won his fourth game, thanks to home runs from Jose Bautista, which broke the game open, Josh Donaldson, whose blast travelled the farthest, left-handed hitting Michael Saunders off a lefty and Darwin Barney, the Jays third second baseman of the night.
Six of the Jays’ 14 hits were for extra bases, with seven going off the green outfield walls, or as they are known: Wall Balls.
This used to be a stat kept only at Fenway Park and it was used to chart drives off the Green Monster. The Jays’ Wall Balls included:
* Barney going second deck on a 1-0 pitch from Michael Tonkin, the eighth-inning homer travelling 390 feet.
* Saunders hitting a 1-2 pitch 392 feet over the right-field wall off lefty Taylor Rogers in the seventh for a solo shot. Rogers is from Littleton, Colo., and not part of the Rogers Communications empire.
* Donaldson doubled off the right-field wall on a 2-2 pitch from Trevor May in the sixth.
* Bautista greeted May one batter before Donaldson with a three-run homer 388 feet to left centre giving the Jays a 7-1 lead and breaking the game open.
“Sometimes you have to change,” said Bautista, leading off in the new-look Jays lineup. “It’s not about me, it’s not about my RBI totals,” Bautista said. “Who cares if I drive in 146 runs and we don’t win?”
Is Twins pitching a fair barometer?
“It doesn’t matter who is on the mound,” Bautista said. “You still have to execute.”
* Troy Tulowitzki doubled to centre on a 2-1 from starter Tyler Duffey.
* Donaldson wins the Drive of the Night, as his blast carried the left-field wall, the first deck and came to land in the back of Section 231 in an area aptly known as Home Run Porch. Donaldson’s 10th homer came on a 3-2 pitch and travelled 430 or almost half way to the Manitoba border. The drive gave the Jays a 2-1 lead.
* Justin Smoak singled off the wall in right in the second inning.
Sanchez allowed eight hits and only two runs his ERA dropping from 3.29 to 3.20. He fanned seven and did not walk a man. He has now worked 59 innings, second to only Marcus Stroman (61.2 innings) on the staff ... Ezequiel Carrera started in centre ahead of Kevin Pillar and made like Batman to Pillar’s Superman, diving for a Trevor Plouffe bid in the fourth. Carrera is very good at going airborne to catch the ball, but what he did Friday was different — he held on after he hit the ground ... Tulowitzki continued to impress in the field, stealing a base hit from Joe Mauer in the first and doing a two-step around second to hit the base in stride and turn Brian Dozier’s grounder into an inning-ending double play ... Bautista and Saunders each had three hits, while Donaldson, Smoak and Tulowitzki had a pair apiece ... Drew Storen had a scoreless inning, lowering his ERA to 7.80 ... Chad Girodo allowed a ninth inning homer to newcomer Robbie Grossman, his first.
THREE FOR TWO
Manager John Gibbons used three second baseman in the same game and not because of an injury. He started Ryan Goins, who was hitless in two at-bats. After Duffey hit Carrera in the foot with a 1-2 knuckle-curve in the sixth, the Jays had runners at first and second with a 3-1 lead and two out. Gibbons went to Jimmy Paredes as a pinch-hitter and the good-hit, so-so field infielder lined a 1-2 pitch to centre, scoring Tulowitzki, who had already knocked in Saunders.
Paul Molitor hooked Duffey for May and Bautista hit his fourth pitch for his eighth homer. Who says there are not any RBI chances batting leadoff?
Then, Barney took over in the field and contributed a solo homer. So combined, the three second baseman were 2-for-4 with two RBIs.