September 24, 2021

Twins play spoiler, beat Blue Jays in Game 1 of weekend series

Advantage: Minnesota.

Not only because the Twins beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-2 on Thursday, knocking the Jays a game back in the AL wild card race, but also because the Twins appear to have clearly come out ahead in their deal to get pitcher Joe Ryan in exchange for slugger Nelson Cuz.

Yes, there’s a chance that Cruz hits 500 home runs, but he’s also at the end of his career, while the Twins landed a good young pitcher who may pitch well for the Twins for years to come. It’s easy to feel that way after Ryan blew away the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday, striking out 11 batters in five innings, including seven straight strikeouts.

Meanwhile, the Twins scored seven runs on 13 hits in their win over the Blue Jays, getting three hits apiece from catcher Mitch Garver and outfielder Nick Gordon, who also hit a three-run home run to help the Twins pull away in the fifth inning.

Starter Michael Pineda allowed two runs over five innings to improve to 8-8 with a 3.73 ERA. Bailey Ober faces old friend Jose Berrios on Friday.

Extra innings…

-The Twins swept the two-game mid-week series against the Cubs. Pitcher Ryan got a lot of help from Max Kepler, who went 3-for-4 with two home runs. The Twins took a 5-2 lead into the ninth inning during Wednesday’s game, then closer Alex Colome nearly blew it, allowing two runs on three hits with a walk in an inning of work. Colome eventually earned his 15th save for the 5-4 Twins win.

-The Twins end the season against the Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals.

-The St. Louis Browns* shut out the Texas Rangers on five hits Thursday to win 3-0. The Browns are now 49-104. The Arizona Diamondbacks also are 49-104. It also appears that the Rangers and Pirates could lose 100 games.

*The St. Louis Browns became the Baltimore Orioles in 1954.

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.