Twins’ Grossman shines in 9-3 loss to Toronto
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins are all alone at the bottom.
Tyler Duffey’s strong start blew up in the sixth inning and the Twins were hammered by the Toronto Blue Jays 9-3 on Friday night to fall to an MLB-worst 10-31 this season.
Duffey (1-3) gave up six runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings. Earlier in the evening the Atlanta Braves (11-30) beat Philadelphia to put the Twins in the cellar.
They are already buried and it’s not even June.
"We’re trying to find ways the best we can," Twins manager Paul Molitor said when asked how he is staying positive. "It’s challenging. These guys are hungry to win games, and it’s just not happening."
Robbie Grossman went 3 for 4 with a homer, a double and three RBIs in his first game for the Twins, who have lost five straight.
Jose Bautista’s three-run home run off Trevor May broke open the game in the sixth inning and Josh Donaldson, Michael Saunders and Darwin Barney also went deep for Toronto.
Aaron Sanchez (4-1) gave up two runs and eight hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings to give the Blue Jays their second straight win after a five-game losing streak.
"I don’t think we’ll ever go through a drought where we’re not driving the ball," said Saunders, who had three hits and two RBIs. "We just need those runners on when we do get those hits."
It was yet another miserable night for the Twins, who haven’t gotten quality pitching from the starting rotation or the bullpen and have struggled mightily to score runs.
Molitor has been juggling the batting order in an effort to light a spark and gave second baseman Brian Dozier his first career night as a designated hitter. But Dozier went 0 for 4 and the Twins struck out eight times to go quietly yet again.
Miguel Sano had two hits, the only other Twin to have multiple hits in the game.
Adding to the ignominy for the Twins, Target Field was taken over by blue-clad Jays fans who were never louder than when Bautista sent a drive into the seats in left field to cap Toronto’s five-run sixth.
It was Bautista’s 12th home run at Target Field, the most by any visiting player at this ballpark.
"We talked about it in our meetings that when you get behind, that’s when they feast," Duffey said. "If you don’t get ahead and stay ahead, you get into those fastball counts and they just get comfortable in the box."
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons returned from a three-game suspension for his role in a brawl with the Texas Rangers and Troy Tulowitzki had a double among his two hits and an RBI.
Grossman was called up from Triple-A Rochester on Thursday to take the place of the struggling Eddie Rosario. He had an RBI double in his first plate appearance and hit his first homer since April 18, 2015, when he played for the Astros.
"First pitch he saw he smoked it in the corner, and he had a really good at-bat," Molitor said. "One he singled up the middle, and true to form his better side is probably his right-handed side, and he got a changeup there and he hit it over the fence, so a very nice debut for him."
Sano had words for umpire Andy Fletcher when he was called out on strikes in the eighth. He took issue with a pitch earlier in the at-bat, and when Fletcher called him out on a high-and-tight breaking ball, Sano lingered in the box and let out a sigh.
As he headed back to the dugout, the slugger gave a thumbs up to Fletcher. The umpire gave a long stare back into the dugout and Sano went down the stairs, but cooler heads prevailed and nothing else came of the moment.
Blue Jays: 2B Devon Travis (shoulder) had three hits in his first rehab game with Triple-A Buffalo on Thursday.
Twins: Prized prospect Byron Buxton has not played for Triple-A Rochester since May 14 because of back spasms. GM Terry Ryan said he would be back in the lineup on Saturday.
The Twins send LHP Pat Dean (0-1, 4.50) to the mound for Game 3 of the four-game series against LHP J.A. Happ (5-1, 3.40).
- Brian Dozier
- Byron Buxton
- FOX Sports North
- Jorge Polanco
- Miguel Sanó
- Minnesota Twins
- Pat Dean
- Robbie Grossman
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Tyler Duffey