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Twins’ continued dominance over Kevin Gausman not enough in loss

TORONTO — No, Rocco Baldelli said before the game, the Twins weren’t looking forward to seeing Kevin Gausman, despite their lengthy history of success against the Blue Jays’ ace.

“He’s one of the best pitchers in the league,” the Twins’ manager said. “I don’t think anyone’s excited to see one of the best pitchers in the league.”

One of the best pitchers in the league against everyone else. Not against the Twins. Minnesota has Gausman’s number. This much is clear.

In his four starts before Saturday’s, Gausman had given up just two earned runs in 24 innings. The Twins chased him out of the game after three innings in which he gave up seven runs (six earned).

And yet, they still lost. The Twins’ offense ran hot and cold in Saturday’s 10-8 loss to the Blue Jays, continuing their reign of dominance over Gausman but failing to do much after his exit.

“We had some good at-bats early. We tried to keep Gausman in the zone,” Baldelli said. “But the guys that came in late for them, they attacked in the zone pretty well.”

Gausman wound up taking a no-decision after the Blue Jays rallied against the Twins’ bullpen. But though they lost, that doesn’t make the Twins’ continued dominance against one of the best in the game any less impressive. In 13 starts against them, Gausman has now given up 49 earned runs in 63 2/3 innings (6.93 earned-run average).

The Twins wasted no time Saturday, with the leadoff hitter, Edouard Julien, reaching base with his first hit. Two outs later, Max Kepler broke his bat on an infield single that extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games.

Carlos Correa’s broken-bat single brought home the first run of the day, and a single by Alex Kirilloff that got past left fielder Davis Schneider plated two more runs. With that, the Twins were off to the races.

They tacked on another run in the second, hiking up Gausman’s pitch count in the process. And in the third, after Willi Castro nearly missed a two-run home run, settling for a double instead, Carlos Santana slammed his second home run in as many days, a shot out to straightaway center field.

Santana said he had a good plan for Gausman and executed it perfectly. Whast was the plan?

“Looking middle-up,” Santana said.

That helped send Gausman to the showers early.

“You’re on top of the world for an hour, three or four innings,” Baldelli said. “We probably scored a bunch of our runs with good swings and having a good idea and following with a plan against a pitcher. But the same thing works on their end, too. They couldn’t stop us early in the game, and we couldn’t stop them in the middle of the game and late in the game.”

Briefly

The Twins will send Bailey Ober to the mound in the series finale against the Blue Jays. He will face off against Alek Manoah. After Sunday’s game, the Twins will have an off day before playing host to the New York Yankees. … The Twins will look for their sixth straight series win on Sunday. If they accomplish that, it would be the first time they have done so since 2010. … The loss snapped the Twins’ seven-game road winning streak. Their club record is eight straight road wins, accomplished three separate times.