MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Byron Buxton’s two running games disrupted José Berríos’ return to Minnesota and dealt a blow to Toronto’s postseason hopes as the Twins beat the Blue Jays 3-1 on Friday night.
Buxton made his 15th home run of the season in a three-run third inning against the Berrios (12-9) who made his first start in Minnesota since being handed over to Toronto on the trade deadline. Berrios played six seasons for the Twins after being named a first-round draft pick by the club in 2012.
The final journey of the season made the playoff chances difficult for the Blue Jays. Toronto is 1-4 in the round after going 1-2 in Tampa Bay and losing the first two games in Minnesota.
The New York Yankees beat Boston 8-3 on Friday and the teams tied for the AL wild card. The Blue Jays are three games behind.
Marcus Semien made his 42nd run for Toronto, which was a solo shot to the bullpens at center left on the sixth inning. Semien is one homer shy of the all-time record for second basemen with Atlanta set by Davey Johnson in 1973. Minnesota’s Brian Dozier (2016) and St. Louis Hall of Famer Rogers equaled Hornsby (1922).
Bailey Ober (3-3) surrendered for Minnesota in a series of 5 1/3 innings and has four consecutive wins, but still ranks last in AL Central.
Berrios, who is 12th on Gemini’s all-time strike list and 15th in wins, received a warm applause from the crowd after his announcement. He marched on Andrelton Simmons to open third and Luis Arraez followed with the trio. Then, Buxton vacated straight into midfield for a homer against his former teammate.
Berrios finished with three runs allowed with 10 innings in six.
GOOD AND BAD
Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said the news about Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s injured hand had been good and bad. In Thursday’s game, Gurriel was hit by teammate Randal Grichuk in an away game and left without any broken bones. Gurriel had stitches on his middle finger.
Montoyo said Gurriel is day to day. Montoyo said the launch would be more difficult than hitting Gurriel, hinting at a possible early return as DH.
The Blue Jays have announced that they have increased ballpark capacity for the final six home games of the season. Capacity will be increased to 30,000 for the last home stand of the regular season.
Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination is required for all fans aged 12 and under. The team said that a negative COVID-19 test would no longer be accepted, except for people with a doctor’s note showing that they have a medical exemption.
Toronto is home to the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles in the three-game series.
Blue Jays: RHP Joakim Soria has been withdrawn from the family medical emergency list. RHP Thomas Hatch, who was injured in Friday’s game, is on the 10-day injury list with right hamstring tendonitis. … INF Santiago Espinal was withdrawn from the 10-day list of casualties. INF Kevin Smith was selected to the Triple-A.
Twins: OF Max Kepler was out of the squad for dealing with an illness unrelated to COVID-19. Manager Rocco Baldelli said Kepler could miss Saturday’s game as well.
Blue Jays: LHP Robbie Ray (12-6, 2.72 ERA) kicks off Saturday night. August’s AL pitcher Ray allowed seven runs in 16 innings (3.94) in his last three starts.
Gemini: Minnesota had not declared a start for Saturday, in part because rookie RHP Joe Ryan left the team on Friday to go to San Francisco to settle a family matter. Ryan could probably be back to start on Sunday. Griffin Jax is currently scheduled to launch on Sunday.