MLB: Blue Jays beat Twins 6-1, keep race alive
MINNEAPOLIS – Teoscar Hernandez, Marcus Semien and George Springer hit home runs to help the Toronto Blue Jays stay alive in the playoff race by beating the Minnesota Twins 6-1 on Saturday night.
Robbie Ray (13-6) allowed just three hits in six innings to allow the Torontonians to end a three-game losing streak.
The Blue Jays therefore remain two games away from the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox in the race for the two spots available in the American playoff game, with seven games to go.
For a second straight season, the Tampa Bay Rays confirmed their title in the Eastern section of the American on Saturday.
Semien gave his team a 3-1 lead with his 43rd long ball of the season. He joined Dave Johnson, who had reached that plateau in 1973, for the most home runs in a season by a second baseman.
“I think we are ready,” said Semien. Yes, we are young. Yes, it’s new for some of us to be in a playoff race. With fans in the stands, it’s a little different from last year. But I believe we are ready.
“No matter the circumstances, we will follow our game plan and face any team. «
Springer put the brakes on a 0-for-16 streak with a two-run homerun in the seventh. It was his 18th of the season and his first since September 11.
Ray, who leads the American with an average of 2.68 and sits at the top of Major League Baseball with 244 strikeouts, allowed one run and passed six batters in the mitt.
The Twins scored their only point on a sacrifice ball in the first. They put runners on the trails in four of the next five rounds, but Ray limited the damage each time.
“It was fun to watch,” said Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo of his pitcher’s performance.
“He’s our best pitcher and he’s worthy of a Cy-Young trophy. He should win the Cy-Young, ”thundered the manager.
The Minnesota roster was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
Springer limits damage with sparkle
The Blue Jays took the lead in second thanks to Hernandez’s home run and a one-point double from Randal Grichuk, combined with a mistake by right fielder Brent Rooker.
Absent since September 14 due to an abdominal injury, Twins starter John Gant (5-10) conceded two points, including one deserved, in three sets on his return from the 10-day injured list.
Ahead of the game, the Twins paid tribute to their former first baseman Justin Morneau. The Canadian, a native of New Westminster, British Columbia, was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame.
The two teams will face off for the last time on Sunday afternoon, then the Blue Jays return to Toronto for their final two series. They will face the Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles to round out the season.