Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Game of the Day (6/9/14)

Blue Jays 5, Twins 4. Minnesota's Ricky Nolasco faced Toronto's RA Dickey.

The game got off to an emphatic start, as Danny Santana led off with his second career home run and Brian Dozier followed with a solo shot of his own. Toronto took very little time to counter, as Melky Cabrera singled, Jose Bautista walked, and Edwin Encarnacion cranked a 3-run shot in the bottom of the inning, putting the Canadian side ahead 3-2.

Both starters settled down after that eventful opening. Dickey allowed singles to Kurt Suzuki and Santana in the second, then kept the bases clear in each of the next three innings. Meanwhile, Nolasco was spotless in the second, allowed a single-and-steal to Jose Reyes in the third, and gave up a Brett Lawrie single and a walk to Josh Thole in the fourth, but kept the Jays from scoring again until Reyes led off the fifth with a homer.

Dickey got into a substantial amount of trouble in the sixth, starting with a one-out triple by Josh Willingham. He then plunked Oswaldo Arcia and walked Kendrys Morales to load the bases, and was pulled for Dustin McGowan, who coaxed a double play from Trevor Plouffe to end the inning. Nolasco allowed singles to Encarnacion and Lawrie in the sixth, and was pulled after the second despite getting a double play after the first; Caleb Thielbar relieved and ended the inning scorelessly.

McGowan got another double play in the seventh after Suzuki led off with a single; Thielbar walked Anthony Gose only to see him caught stealing second. The Jays got yet another twin killing in the eighth when Aaron Loup walked Dozier ahead of a 1-6-3 grounder from Joe Mauer; Matt Guerrier allowed a Bautista double in the bottom of the inning but kept him at second while recording all three outs.

Casey Janssen took the mound in the ninth, holding a two run lead and facing a team that hadn't scored since the game's first out had been recorded. He retired Arcia, allowed a single to Morales (with Aaron Hicks pinch running), and got Plouffe to hit into a force (he was in turn replaced by Eduardo Nunez). Nunez advanced to second on defensive indifference, and 26 outs after they last scored, the Twins then got back-to-back doubles from Suzuki and Eduardo Escobar, their eighth and ninth hitters, to tie the game at 4.

Guerrier walked Dioner Navarro to start the bottom of the ninth, then recorded strike 3 against Gose on a foul bunt. Casey Fien relieved and gave up a single to Reyes, putting pinch runner Eric Kratz at second. Kevin Pillar, who'd entered as a defensive replacement a half inning earlier, followed with a single of his own to score the winning run.

This was a quality game - a game-tying top of the ninth and a walkoff in the bottom, with a few good rallies in between. It included 3 hits each from Kurt Suzuki and Jose Reyes, both of them having resurgent years after fairly disappointing 2013s. But the most notable feature is the fact that the Twins achieved the maximum possible number of outs between runs scored in a regulation game.

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