2023-10-04 · 2 min read · MLB/Baseball
Rangers Jordan Montgomery | Jays Kevin Gausman

Smiley Pool/Rangers Photographer | Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Maybe pitches were tipped. Or maybe it was the baseballs. Or maybe it was the pressure to notch a playoff win under Atkins and Shapiro. Or maybe the Minnesota Twins really are just that good at laying off splitters.
Whatever the case, Toronto has little time to stew about their misfortunes - Royce Lewis, in his return from injury, launched a two-run shot and a solo bomb in his first two postseason at-bats, and that’s all Minnesota needed. Kevin Kiermaier drove in a run on an RBI single in the sixth, but that was it. 3-1 Minnesota, Jhoan Duran picking up the save, and now it all rests on the shoulders of the Twins’ ex-ace Jose Berrios.
A game of failing to hit with runners in scoring position, questionable baserunning from Bo Bichette, and two unfortunately placed pitches from Kevin Gausman acted as Toronto’s downfall in Game 1. A must-win elimination game for the Blue Jays will now take place on Wednesday, as Minnesota turns to Sonny Gray in hopes of closing out the series after two games.
Following Gausman, Manager John Schneider turned to Erik Swanson, Tim Mayza, Chad Green, Genesis Cabrera, and Jordan Hicks to finish the game - with all five relievers allowing no runs over four innings. Following Game 1, Schneider mentioned that everybody - including Yusei Kikuchi and Chris Bassitt - are available for Game 2, minus Kevin Gausman. To state the obvious, a Chris Bassitt appearance in Wednesday’s game would mean that things…aren’t going well.
Finishing the regular season 8-8 with a 2.79 ERA, Twins’ Sonny Gray had a terrific year. Putting himself in the conversation for AL Cy Young, Gray had only one start against Toronto this season -  a 5 inning performance in June, allowing just a single run on five hits. Likewise with Gray, Berrios only faced his former club once this past year in which he shut them out over 5 ⅔ innings. Both sides are looking for some length out of their starters, as nine relievers combined were used between both sides in Game 1.
In other Game 1 action, the Texas Rangers defeated Tampa Bay 4-0 behind seven strong innings from lefty Jordan Montgomery. Arizona, thanks to home runs from Corbin Carroll, Ketel Marte, and Gabriel Moreno, as well as a two-run double in the ninth by Christian Walker, upset Corbin Burnes and the Milwaukee Brewers 6-3. Zac Gallen will face Freddy Peralta in Game 2. Philadelphia took care of Miami 4-1 as well, with Zack Wheeler pitching into the seventh inning.
Today’s Minnesota Twins victory was their first since 2004, snapping an eighteen-game playoff losing streak. On the flip side, Toronto’s loss propels their playoff record to 0-5 in the Ross Atkins/Mark Shapiro era, halfway to the team’s third two-and-out Wild Card series loss.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Gus Cousins


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