June 9: Twins (29-33) 4, Blue Jays (39-26) 5
Each team scored early and late as Toronto Blue Jays’ closer Casey Janssen coughed up a lead in the ninth against the Minnesota Twins, but Kevin Pillar won things for the Jays with a walk-off hit. Pillar knocked in the winning run in his only at-bat.
The Twins were off to a huge start in the first as their first two batters homered to start the game against Toronto ace R.A. Dickey. Danny Santana and Brian Dozier each made Dickey work in those at-bats, homering in the sixth and ninth pitches, respectively.
It didn’t take long for the Jays to take back the lead, as Edwin Encarnacion’s three-run blast to left field put the home team up by one with two away in the frame. Encarnacion jumped on a 1-1 offering from starter Ricky Nolasco for his 20th dinger of the year.
Both teams threatened but couldn’t break through, until the fifth when Jose Reyes doubled the Blue Jays’ lead to two with a solo shot to right to open the frame. Belting his fourth home run of the year, Reyes connected on a two-seam fastball against his former teammate Nolasco.
In the sixth, down by two, the Twins got arguably their best opportunity to do damage of the entire game. Following a Joe Mauer ground out to start the frame, Minnesota got a triple from Josh Willingham, a hit-by-pitch to Oswald Arcia and a walk to Kendrys Morales to load the bases with one away. Reliever Dustin McGowan then came in and shut the door on hopes of a big inning with a double-play ball off the bat of Trevor Plouffe.
The Blue Jays held onto their two-run lead all the way until Janssen’s collapse in the ninth. With a runner on first and two away, Janssen gave up back-to-back RBI doubles to Kurt Suzuki and Eduardo Escobar to send the game to the bottom of the ninth tied at four apiece.
In the bottom half of the ninth, Pillar came through with his walk-off RBI single to right with runners on first and second. He connected on a 1-2 pitch from reliever Casey Fien for the game-winner.
Nolasco gave up four runs and struck out six in his 5.2 innings of work. Across the way, Dickey also got the no decision as he went 5.1 frames and allowed just two runs. He struck out three and coughed up only five hits.