Nick Gordon hit a three-run homer and scored in the 10th inning for Minnesota after a pair of miscues by Toronto catcher Danny Jansen, giving the Twins a 6-5 win over the Blue Jays on Friday night.
Gordon, who had three hits in the game, was the automatic runner to start the bottom of the 10th. Jordan Romano (3-3) struck out Jake Cave on a low slider that got past Jansen, who threw wildly to first, allowing Cave to reach and moving Gordon to third.
Tim Beckham hit a grounder to third baseman Matt Chapman, who threw home to get Gordon trying to score. Jansen likely would have had the out but didn’t catch the ball cleanly.
“I actually was sliding and watching the catcher, so I was actually seeing the ball fall and I was kind of yelling at the umpire,” Gordon said. “I was like, `Safe, safe.’ So, I was hoping he heard me.”
Toronto rallied from a 5-0 deficit before losing for the fourth time in its last 16 games.
“I think everything lined up the way we wanted it to line up and we just didn’t execute at the end,” interim manager John Schneider said. “I love the way we’re playing and I think it’s one game kind of in a vacuum. You try to squash it and move on.”
Michael Fulmer (4-4) left the bases loaded in the top of the 10th in his second appearance for Minnesota since being acquired from Detroit.
The Twins, who came in having lost six of nine, extended their AL Central lead to two games over Cleveland and the Chicago White Sox.
“Sometimes you just have to battle a little bit,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Put the ball in play. Make the other team make something happen. Once there’s guy on second base, once there’s a guy on third base, really anything can happen in this game if you give yourself the opportunity.”
The Blue Jays rallied in the ninth against new Twins closer Jorge Lopez, another trade deadline acquisition who was an All-Star for Baltimore. Bo Bichette and Danny Jansen singled before Raimel Tapia blooped a two-out single into shallow centre field.
Making his Minnesota debut, Tyler Mahle became the first Twins starter to finish six innings since Sonny Gray went six against Detroit on July 24.
Mahle allowed one hit through the first four innings before giving up homers to Matt Chapman, Santiago Espinal and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a two-run blast to centre in the sixth.
Acquired at the deadline from the Cincinnati Reds for three prospects, Mahle allowed four runs and five hits. He had not allowed three homers in a game this season.
“I was excited to play in a meaningful game,” Mahle said. “Haven’t really done that all year. Excited that my family was here to see it.”
Gordon’s fifth homer of the season capped a four-run fourth against former Twins starter Jose Berrios, who gave up five runs on six hits in 3⅔ innings.
I HATE GOODBYES
Minnesota designated right-hander Tyler Duffey for release or assignment, likely ending Duffey’s eight-season tenure with the team. Duffey was 2-4 with a 4.91 ERA this season. He allowed three runs in 1⅔ innings in Thursday’s 9-3 loss to Toronto.
Duffey, 31, was a starter early in his time with Minnesota before becoming an important reliever. He held a 2.31 ERA over 80 appearances from 2019-2020.
“There are decisions that have to be made. This was one of them that was really hard,” Baldelli said. “It took some time and some contemplation before we got there. But we thought it was something that we had to do and, therefore, if we think it’s the right thing to do, we have to do it.”
Right-hander Cole Sands was recalled from Triple-A St. Paul to fill a long-relief role.
Blue Jays: OF George Springer was out of the lineup as he deals with a lingering elbow injury. Schneider said it was a maintenance day for Springer.
Twins: OF Byron Buxton received a day off as he deals with his lingering knee injury.
RHP Mitch White will make his Toronto debut on Saturday night after being acquired in a deadline deal with Los Angeles. White was 1-2 with a 3.70 ERA in 15 games, including 10 starts, for the Dodgers. Minnesota will start RHP Dylan Bundy (6-5, 5.04 ERA), who has allowed 15 earned runs over his last 19⅓ innings.