This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

Blue Jays fall short of comeback in extra-inning loss to Twins

Get the latest from Frank Zicarelli straight to your inbox

Yusei Kikuchi of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches.
Yusei Kikuchi of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches in the first inning of their MLB game against the Minnesota Twins at Rogers Centre on Friday, June 9, 2023, in Toronto. Photo by Cole Burston /Getty Images

Tight and taut games have become the Blue Jays’ trademark of late, whether it’s winning late or producing clutch runs in key moments.

That trend continued Friday night as the Jays and Minnesota Twins opened a three-game series with the Rogers Centre roof opened as the celebrations surrounding Pride Weekend began.

Don Brennan’s daily hit on the world of sports betting. Whether you’re new to sports gambling or an experienced wagerer, this newsletter offers trustworthy insights into the odds game. 19+. Please gamble responsibly.

By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails or any newsletter. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300

Once all the off-field noise surrounding the Jays had finally settled or at least been resolved, the focus was back on the game.

The starting pitching on both sides was good, defence pretty solid and the offences unable to break through.

In winning the past two games against Houston, the Blue Jays emerged with 3-2 victories in each meeting. A hat trick, so to speak, should have been produced had Toronto taken care of business in the game’s final at-bats in the ninth.

Instead, the Jays failed and ultimate fell in 10 innings as Minny escaped with its own 3-2 win.

Yusei Kikuchi wasn’t bad and gave the Jays a chance by going five innings.

His bugaboo has been the home run. Specifically, he gives up an inordinate amount and it bit Kikuchi once again when Michael A. Taylor, the Twins’ No. 9 hitter, clubbed his ninth dinger of the season for a two-run blast.

Only one free pass was issued by Kikuchi and four hits would be surrendered, while he struck out four.

  1. Toronto Blue Jays General Manager Ross Atkins.

    Blue Jays GM Atkins cites performance, distraction in move to DFA reliever Bass

  2. Anthony Bass of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches in the ninth inning of their game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Rogers Centre on May 31, 2023 in Toronto.

    Blue Jays designate controversial reliever Anthony Bass for assignment

Toronto scored a run in its at-bat in the fifth when Bo Bichette, who batted leadoff in the order, plated Santiago Espinal.

With two out and one on base, George Springer entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Cavan Biggio.

It ended up being a prudent move as Springer took the first pitch thrown by right-hander Brock Stewart, the second reliever used by the Twins, into the left-centre gap.

Espinal, who reached base on a two-out single, scored to tie the game, while Springer ended up at third.

Enter Alejandro Kirk, who pinch hit for Tyler Heineman.

Kirk struck out swinging as the game’s fate would be decided in extra innings, the game’s starters in Kikuchi and Minnesota’s Sonny Gray no longer having an impact on the outcome.


It became clear as day the Jays wanted nothing to do with Anthony Bass when the besieged reliever was designated for assignment Friday afternoon, well before the evening’s first pitch was thrown.

As the day unfolded, word began to filter out that the feeling was mutual and Bass wanted out.

The bottom line is Bass is gone and is never to return to the Blue Jays fold.

Don’t be surprised, suggest some, if a trade gets engineered.

For obvious reasons, the team wasn’t tipping its hand as yet another interesting day at the ballpark played out well before the actual game was played.


Bass, 35, was acquired from the Miami Marlins at last year’s trade deadline. Between the two clubs, he posted a 1.54 ERA.

The Jays exercised a $3-million US option for 2023, but his ERA increased, as did his walk rate, while his strikeout rate decreased.


Kevin Kiermaier was not in the starting lineup after he left Thursday’s win over visiting Houston when Astros starter Framber Valdez hit him below the left wrist in the home half of the second inning.

Precautionary X-rays came back negative and Kiermaier is considered day to day. He was available to come off the bench, but never did in the series opener.

In his absence, the Blue Jays started Daulton Varsho in an unlikely outfield lineup that featured Biggio in right field and Whit Merrifield in left.

Starting at catcher was Heineman.

Biggio was immediately thrust into the spotlight when Twins leadoff hitter Donovan Solano sent a rocket to right that went off the wall for a double.

It’s arguable whether even Springer could have come up with the ball for the out.

Either way, the Twins didn’t waste much time in applying pressure on the Jays defence.

To his credit, Kikuchi did not allow Solano to advance.

In the top of the second, Kikuchi allowed a one-out single to right.

With Christian Vazquez at the plate, the No. 8 hitter lined a ball that seemed destined to split the right-centre gap and potentially score a run. Varsho had other ideas as he sprinted to his left and made a nice running catch. He quickly threw the ball into the infield, preventing the runner from advancing.

Merrifield made a bit of noise with his bat. After Biggio struck out to begin the third, Merrifield reached base on a bunt that went straight down the third base line and off the bag.

The Jays couldn’t advance Merrifield as neither team could score a run through three innings.


The Twins entered the night entrenched in the throes of a season-long losing streak that stretched to five games following Thursday afternoon’s 4-2 loss to the host Tampa Bay Rays.

At the root of Minny’s woes involves its offence, which has been limited to two or fewer runs in six straight.

“As soon as you start to panic, as soon as you start to doubt yourself, doubt the guys around you, that’s when you don’t come out of those trenches,” said catcher Ryan Jeffers following the loss to the Rays.

Incredibly, Minny entered its three-game series against the Blue Jays having scored a combined seven runs in its last six games, the team’s lowest total in any six-game period since August 2011.

Prior to that, every such six-game stretch of futility was fashioned in 1982 or earlier.

Minny continues to be without oft-injured all-star centre-fielder Byron Buxton, who is nursing bruised ribs.

It marks the seventh successive season Buxton has missed games due to injury.