MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—The Toronto Blue Jays are starting to catch some breaks.
“You got to get some breaks. There’s no questions about that,” said Toronto manager John Gibbons, whose team took advantage of several Twins’ miscues for the second straight night. “More importantly, you need to take advantage of them.”
Halladay (4-5) has been the victim of poor run support all season, getting only 3.14 runs per outing entering Wednesday. Stairs’ slam in the first inning gave the right-hander a 4-0 advantage, but it wasn’t enough.
Michael Cuddyer’s RBI groundout tied it in the third.
Leading 5-4 in the eighth, Toronto added an insurance run on reliever Jesse Crain’s throwing error. Crain had Scott Rolen picked off of second base, but overthrew third base and allowed Rolen to score.
The play was no laughing matter for Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who watched his team also give away Tuesday’s game with sloppy play.
“It happens. We’re not immune to it,” Gardenhire said. “We work on a lot of things and it happens. You saw last night where we gave away two or three runs and we lose 5-3. Tonight, we give them an extra one and we end up losing by one, there you have it. You don’t give people extra outs. We’ve said that around here forever.”
Bonser has allowed 17 runs in his last three starts and has twice allowed four or more runs in the first inning.
“It’s brutal. We put up a bunch of runs off their ace, and I can’t go out and shut them down,” Bonser said. “That grand slam, I don’t want to say it killed me, but it gives them a 4-0 lead right out of the gate, which isn’t fun. Especially for my teammates to have to come up and put up a bunch of runs. It’s very frustrating.”
With the Twins’ loss and Cleveland’s victory, Minnesota dropped out of first place in the AL Central.
Wilkerson and Aaron Hill led off the game with singles and Scott Rolen coaxed a walk after an 11-pitch at-bat to load the bases.
Rolen walked after a 15-pitch at-bat during the sixth inning of Tuesday’s game and Stairs followed with a home run.
Stairs sent the first pitch he saw after Rolen’s most recent marathon at-bat into the first row of the upper deck in right field for his first grand slam since May 19 of last season and the 11th of his career.
“Scotty had a great at-bat before me,” Stairs said. “(Bonser) was trying to go fastball away and I think he missed his spot. I just happened to put a good swing on it and barrell it.”
Halladay pitched 6 2-3 innings, allowing four runs and nine hits. He struck out nine.
“It would’ve been nice to keep it 4-0 the whole time, but you have those where you’ve got to grind through,” Halladay said. “You know they’re not going to give up in the first inning.”
Scott Downs pitched the ninth for his fifth save in six chances.
The Twins have lost five in a row to Toronto for the first time since August of 1998 and have been outscored 37-13. … The four-run first inning marked the first time since April 20 that Toronto has scored four or more times in an inning.