Blue Jays 9, Twins 8, 13 innings
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—The Minnesota Twins were finally out of relievers, and rallies. Lyle Overbay ended an exhausting game by waiting for the right pitch and driving in the winner for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Overbay hit a two-out, two-strike single in the top of the 13th on Saturday night, totaling four RBIs to lift Toronto to a 9-8 victory over Minnesota after wasting a five-run eighth-inning lead.
More than 3 1/2 hours passed between Overbay’s two-run homer in the first against struggling Twins starter Ramon Ortiz and the changeup that Matt Guerrier (1-2) left up enough for him to stroke up the middle. After laying off a 2-2 curveball in the dirt, Overbay figured either the change or the curve was coming.
“I was fortunate enough to squeeze it through,” he said.
Royce Clayton scored on that play after starting the inning with a sharp double. His rare home run with two outs in the sixth capped another rough night for Ortiz, who has allowed 40 hits and 26 earned runs in 21 1-3 innings this month.
Minnesota doesn’t play on Thursday, the next time his turn comes up, so it’s possible the right-hander will be skipped—or even removed from the rotation. Manager Ron Gardenhire said it was too early to tell.
“I have to regroup here. We’ve got to figure out tomorrow first,” said Gardenhire, who was forced to use up his seven-man bullpen and had Tuesday’s scheduled starter Boof Bonser ready to warm up at the end.
Tomo Ohka might have been pitching for his spot in the rotation, too, with Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay due to return on Thursday. He allowed eight hits and three runs while striking out two in seven innings, leaving Casey Janssen with a 7-2 lead after walking the leadoff man in the eighth.
Gibbons, like his former minor league teammate Gardenhire, wasn’t ready to address the issue.
“We just got finished playing the game,” Gibbons said. “What, do you think we were in there for the last five minutes mapping things out?”
Michael Cuddyer greeted Janssen with a homer, the first allowed by the right-hander in 24-plus innings this year, and finished with five RBIs. Cuddyer capped a three-run ninth with a two-run single that handed new closer Jeremy Accardo with his first blown save. Jeff Cirillo’s double had brought the Twins within one.
Alex Rios homered with two outs and a full count in the 11th against Pat Neshek. Rios went 4-for-7 and has reached base 10 times in his past 14 plate appearances, producing a rare run off Neshek. The sidearmer has only been scored on in two of his 23 appearances, and the homer ended a 17-inning scoreless streak.
Brian Tallet (1-1), who picked up the victory by finishing the final 2 2-3 innings, inherited two runners in the 11th and gave up a fielder’s choice grounder to Justin Morneau that scored Jason Bartlett to tie the game at 8.
“It was one of those grind games that could define our season,” Tallet said.
Gardenhire could only describe it as “draining.”
“It was pretty crazy out there,” he said.
The Twins signed Ortiz while bargain hunting last January, hoping he would pitch like he did for the Angels in 2002 when he won 15 games for the World Series champions.
He was impressive in spring training and solid in five April appearances, but with the calendar turn to May came a series of rough starts. The team believed he could be better if he stopped relying so much on his slider and used his sinker more effectively.
Well, he took the advice and found more of the same—balls whizzing all over the field. The game started with a leadoff single by Rios, who raced to third when Ortiz’s wild pickoff throw rolled into the bullpen. The next pitch was hit into the upper deck by Overbay for a quick 2-0 lead.
“I tried the best I can, but it’s unbelievable,” a downcast Ortiz said, insisting he’s not worried about keeping his place in the rotation.
Stairs had an RBI double in the eighth against Carmen Cali after Julio DePaula walked the only two batters he faced. Toronto didn’t appear to need the insurance at that point, thanks to Ohka. His only trouble came in the third, when Cuddyer and Morneau drove in runs with a single and a double.
Cuddyer, however, tried to score from first on Morneau’s hit and was the first of two Twins to be thrown out at home.
“We needed this one,” Overbay said. “It was one of those things where, if we let it go, it would have been a tough one to recover from.”
Clayton hit his first homer, his fifth since the start of the 2005 season. … Luis Castillo leads the majors with 21 infield hits. … Vernon Wells broke an 0-for-10 slide with a bloop single in the third inning. He went 2-for-6 and has hit only two homers in his past 34 games after going deep 32 times last season. Wells did make a pair of deft running catches of sinking line drives to center after doing the same the night before.