Twins pitchers sharp after rain delay in 4-1 win over Blue Jays
MINNEAPOLIS — Two starts ago, on a soggy mound in Philadelphia, Jake Odorizzi let the rain derail his pitching and didn’t finish the first inning.
The weather in Minnesota Wednesday night didn’t deter him, and neither did Toronto’s lineup.
Nelson Cruz had two hits and two RBIs, helping Odorizzi and the Twins beat the Blue Jays 4-1 following a 54-minute rain delay.
“I guess I could say I’ve learned from previous mistakes,” said Odorizzi, who for the first time in four starts this season by striking out six in 5 2/3 innings. “It’s just a go out there, mind over matter sort of a thing.”
Odorizzi (1-2) allowed six hits, one run and one walk. He threw 101 pitches on this chilly evening, so manager Rocco Baldelli summoned Adalberto Mejia to get the last out of the sixth with a runner on first.
Against the Phillies April 5, Odorizzi struggled with his grip on the wet ball and recorded only two outs while allowing five runs on two hits and three walks. In New York against the Mets April 10, the right-hander threw four hitless innings before allowing three runs and failing to finish the fifth.
Justin Smoak had an RBI single for the Blue Jays in the first, putting him on base in 14 of the 15 games he’s played in this year, but nobody else reached second for the rest of the game. Odorizzi now has the unusual combination of a 4.76 ERA and a .172 batting average against.
“Just watching him in the dugout and body language and everything, I think he was ready to go,” Baldelli said.
Mejia blew Minnesota’s 3-1 lead Monday night, allowing four runs in the eighth inning of the 5-3 loss. Mejia and Taylor Rogers each allowed just one baserunner, setting up Blake Parker for his fourth save with a perfect ninth inning.
“We had nothing going,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “A dead night.”
Blue Jays starter Trent Thornton (0-2) allowed four of the first five Twins to reach base before settling in and lasting until recording the first two outs in the fifth. Thornton gave up six hits, four runs and three walks while striking out three.
“I didn’t put my head down and put my tail between my legs,” Thornton said. “I went back out there and wanted to get as deep as possible, help our bullpen out a little bit, because obviously the game didn’t start as planned.”
Off to a solid start in his first season with Minnesota, Cruz had an RBI single in the first inning and an RBI double in the third. After walking in the fifth, he scored on a single by Marwin Gonzalez. Cruz twice drove in Jorge Polanco, who had two hits and is batting .429 with 10 extra-base hits, one spot ahead of the 38-year-old designated hitter.
“I feel comfortable, and he’s a respected hitter in the league,” Polanco said. “So it’s a good situation.”
This was the 44th game delayed by weather since the ballpark opened in 2010. There have been 24 postponed games, one suspended game continued the following day and one shortened game.
The attendance was announced at 11,465, the lowest figure in Target Field’s 10-year history, though the actual presence of people was far less than that with the wet, 44-degree start. The four smallest crowds have come in the last four games.
Including their postponement of the game Friday after a snowstorm, the Twins had a majors-most six days off over the first 20 days of the season. With the lunchtime start looming in the series finale, every effort was going to be made to get this game in.
“We have a lot of months where we have two or three days off over the course of the month. To use those days as added games is something we’d prefer not to do,” Baldelli said.
Blue Jays: RHP Ryan Tepera joined the team following his last rehab outing for elbow inflammation with Triple-A Buffalo on Sunday. Montoyo said “there’s a good chance” the reliever could be activated from the injured list and available in the bullpen on Thursday.
Twins: 3B Miguel Sano was sent to the team’s training facility in Fort Myers, Florida, to ramp up his recovery from a severe cut on his right heel suffered on Jan. 25. After about two weeks of full-speed baseball activity, Baldelli said, Sano will start playing in minor league games.
The Blue Jays will send RHP Clay Buchholz (0-0, 1.50 ERA) to the mound in the matinee on Thursday, with RHP Michael Pineda (2-0, 3.00 ERA) pitching for the Twins to finish the four-game series.