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Twins give up late homer, fall to Blue Jays, 5-3

La Velle E. Neal III, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Baseball

MINNEAPOLIS -- The ball was crushed, and Eddie Rosario could only watch it sail away.

Unfortunately for the Twins, Rosario was standing in the left field. The ball was hit by Toronto's Teoscar Hernandez and carried high into the night before landing in the second deck for a three-run home run in the eighth inning that propelled the Blue Jays to a 5-3 win.

The Twins began the inning with a 3-1 lead, courtesy of a three-run homer by C.J. Cron in the fourth. Ryne Harper had just finished a 1-2-3 seventh. Left-hander Adalberto Mejia went out for the eighth, despite the Blue Jays sending up two switch hitters and one right-handed hitter in the inning.

Freddy Galvis singled to left. Randal Grichuk doubled to right. Justin Smoak singled to left, driving in a run to make it 3-2.

Hernandez, who hit 22 home runs last season, fell behind 0-2 but fouled off three consecutive pitches to keep the at-bat alive -- something that has happened to Mejia frequently in his brief career.

Mejia threw a slider that didn't get in on Hernandez enough, and the pitch was hammered just shy of the third deck. Toronto had a 5-3 lead.

 

The Twins used Harper and Mejia on Monday because they had used key relievers Taylor Rogers and Trevor Hildenberger in each of the two previous games. Presented with the opportunity to get the game to the ninth inning with the score intact, Mejia struggled.

The Twins failed to score in the bottom of the inning, but not before manager Rocco Baldelli received the first heave-ho of his career. It came as he walked out to home plate to defend Cron, who claimed he fouled a 2-2 pitch that he swung at. Home plate umpire Mike Estabrook ruled that Cron struck out swinging, despite replays showing that the ball either hit Cron on the hand or the bat. Either way, it was as mild-mannered a manager could be while getting tossed from a game.

Before that, it looked like the Twins were going to make do with what Blue Jays starter Matt Shoemaker gave them to work with.

The Blue Jays led 1-0 on a sacrifice fly by Alen Hanson in the fourth. The Twins had one hit at that point, as Shoemaker used his split-fingered fastball effectively on Monday.

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