Blue Jays rally to beat Twins in 10th
Much like the Toronto Blue Jays, it is all about the future for rookies Anthony Gose, Yan Gomes and Adeiny Hechavarria.
The trio are trying to prove they belong with Toronto next season. And the Blue Jays are trying to prove they can finally contend for the post-season.
In all cases, the verdict is out.
But the three rookies did their part on Monday as the Blue Jays defeated the Minnesota Twins 6-5 in 10 innings.
Gomes tied the game in the ninth with a two-out home run. Gose won it in the 10th with a two-out single against left-hander Brian Duensing (4-12) that scored Hechavarria, who had singled in the opener of a three-game series that will end the season for both teams.
"They're making the most of their opportunity," manager John Farrell said. "We can't sit here today and make out next year's 25-man roster. But the exposure, the experience that all the guys coming up here for the first time like that is invaluable."
The Blue Jays were down to their last out against left-handed closer Glen Perkins in the ninth when Gomes hit his fourth major-league homer to tie the game at five.
Gomes entered the game in the eighth at first base, replacing Adam Lind who was 4 for 4 with two runs batted in before giving way to a pinch-runner in the seventh.
"I was just trying to get the ball in play, trying to keep the game going and got a good pitch to hit and hit it pretty well," Gomes said.
"I'm not trying to hit it out of the park but just keep the game going. But that's kind of what my role was, especially against a left-handed pitcher. I was just trying to be ready for it."
After Brandon Lyon (4-0) worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the 10th, Hechavarria got things going in the bottom of the inning with his hit. He took second on a wild pitch with pinch-hitter J.P. Arencibia at the plate.
Arencibia struck out on a ball that got away from catcher Drew Butera. The catcher's throw hit Arencibia, who was running to first, but it was ruled that he was not running in the proper lane and Arencibia was called out for interference. That prompted an argument from Farrell and his ejection by plate umpire Marvin Hudson.
"I saw it as J.P. was on the line," Farrell said. "Obviously after seeing a replay Marvin made the right call."
And Gose came through with the winning single up the middle on the next at-bat.
"I was really just trying to put the ball in play and give myself a chance," said the speedy outfielder who started in left but finished the game in centre. "I feel more comfortable and I'm having better at-bats. It's pretty special to contribute in that way to help the team win."
Trevor Plouffe drove in three runs for the Twins with a homer and a double.
Toronto left-hander Aaron Laffey allowed eight hits and four runs, three earned, in five innings.
The Twins got 5 2/3 innings from Esmerling Vasquez, who allowed six hits, three walks and three runs in his sixth start of the season.
The Blue Jays (71-89) scored in the first on a single by Lind. It brought home Rajai Davis, who led off with a single, took second on a foul out to the catcher and moved to third on a fly out.
The Twins (66-94) took a 2-1 lead in the second on the 24th homer of the season by Plouffe after Laffey hit Parmelee with a pitch to lead off the inning.
Plouffe doubled in a run with two out in the third to put the Twins into a 3-1 lead. It scored Jamey Carroll, who doubled with one out and took third on Parmelee's infield single.
Joe Mauer singled in a run in the fifth to put the Twins into a 4-1 lead. It scored Carroll, who led off with an infield hit to shortstop and continued to second on Hechavarria's throwing error.
Toronto catcher Jeff Mathis doubled in two runs with two out in the sixth to cut the lead to 4-3.
Brett Lawrie of Langley, B.C., led off the inning with a walk, Lind singled and Yunel Escobar sacrificed them to second and third. Kelly Johnson walked to load the bases.
Hechavarria forced Lawrie at the plate with a grounder to third but the throw to first was too late for a double play.
"Failure to turn a double play hurt us," Twins' manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's a double-play ball and we went home with it. In my opinion, we've got to turn two there. Those little things end up killing you in the end and they did tonight."
After Mathis' hit, Alex Burnett replaced Vasquez and struck out Gose to end the inning.
Jays lefty Brett Cecil allowed a run in the seventh on a single and a stolen base by Ben Revere and a single by Carroll.
The Blue Jays made that run back in the bottom of the inning on a two-out single by Lawrie against Burnett and Lind's double against left-hander Tyler Robertson.