The first ball landed just past an outstretched Nick Gordon who ran back from his position at shortstop to try to reach it. The other fell in between midfield Byron Buxton, second baseman Jorge Polanco and Gordon.
No one was hit hard.
The third, however, was safe. Danny Jansen’s three-run homer landed in the stands and helped sink starting pitcher Griffin Jax and the twins in a 5-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon at Target Field.
Jax’s start could have looked very different if the two softly hit balls — neither hit harder than 70 miles per hour from bats — had not fallen in. Instead, he was bitten once more by the long ball on a day when both rookies and his manager thought he was throwing the ball well.
Jax considered these two hits, as well as one in the first inning, as three hits, which nine times out of 10 would have been outs.
But not on Sunday.
“Most of the time it will go my way,” Jax said. “Unfortunately, they did not do that today. But I think for the most part, the two home runs were the only thing that struck me today. ”
Jax gave up another home run in his five-inning start to George Springer in the fifth inning. That pair of home runs brought Jax up to 23 on the year – at just 75 innings. Jax has now given up a home run in 10 straight starts, and a home run in all but two of his 17 major-league outings.
“Down in the minors, some of the seats I could make … they would be outs, or they would be missing it,” Jax said. “But here they do not.”
His own offense hit a home run — Byron Buxton’s 16th of the season — but never reached the lead after trailing by three runs to the Blue Jays (87-69) in the second inning.
Buxton’s home run offered a career-high set in 2017. This time, he did so in 55 games, as opposed to the 140 games it took him to get to 16 home runs at the time.
“He’s basically been the best player in baseball in the time he’s had on the field,” said twin manager Rocco Baldelli. “… Buck is a great player. We see it every day when he’s out here. ”
Buxton’s home run was the only offense in the fight for the Twins (69-87) in addition to a Jake Cave RBI single in the second. Blue Jays starter Alek Manoah just gave up the two runs in 5 2/3 innings while hitting eight out.
The twins finished day 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position, leaving eight at base.
“On all counts, we really felt that we were definitely in the game. A base runner and a big swing away from something happening. I think we were beaten today, in every way you look at it, ”Baldelli said. “… We did not get enough base runners out there. We did not take advantage of the ones we got out there. We had to do more offensively. ”
Novice Joe Ryan, which is currently on the list of grief / family medicine emergencies, is scheduled to start on Thursday. Baldelli said the twins did not want him to come back and rush back into his start, so this will allow him to throw a bullpen after his return. … Michael Pineda is scheduled to start the second game against the Tigers; the twins have not named a starter for Tuesday’s series opener.
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