Blue Jays waste Alek Manoah’s superb start, falling 5-1 to the Minnesota Twins

Alek Manoah made his best start in over a year, but despite giving the Toronto Blue Jays a chance to win their first series since April 20th, Toronto’s bats went cold, losing 5-1 to the Minnesota Twins.

Toronto only scored one run, collecting just two hits and striking out 11 times. It didn’t help that two critical hitters for the Jays, Danny Jansen and Justin Turner, were sitting on the bench. Meanwhile, George Springer made his first start since Wednesday, hitting in the leadoff spot, despite the Right Fielder now hitting just .200.

Lost in the Jays’ lack of hitting was Manoah’s return to his former All-Star form. Manoah was cruising in the game, only allowing two hits and a walk through six innings, all this against a Twins team that came into the game 8th in MLB for runs per game (averaging 4.87) and 9th in OPS (.722).

A key difference in his second start was Manoah threw more of his changeups and offspeed pitches over the zone, getting 15 total whiffs in today’s game.

Manoah’s positive momentum was derailed in the seventh. Ernie Clement made his second error in the game, which allowed Max Kepler to reach base. Willi Castro then followed up with a single, leaving two runners on for Carlos Santana, who took a pitch by Manoah out of the park for a three-run homer, breaking the game open for the Twins.

Manoah, in the end, went seven innings, allowing zero earned runs, striking out six and walking one. For Manoah, it was his first start, going seven innings and giving up no earned runs since April 22nd, 2023.

Twins starter Bailey Ober was dazzling himself, hitting each corner of the strike zone to baffle the Jays hitters.

Ober went 6 1/3 innings, allowing one hit and striking out 10. Ober has gone at least six innings without giving up a run in two of his last six starts.

The Jays were thankful that Ober was taken out, as they struck in the bottom of the seventh. After loading the bases, Danny Jansen pinched-hit, hitting a long flyball to score Vladimir Guerrero Jr. on the sac fly, making it 3-1 Twins, but Toronto ultimately folded on their best scoring opportunity of the game, leaving two runners stranded.

Max Kepler gave the Twins two more insurance runs, hitting a double for two RBIs in the eighth. Kepler is hitting .400/.456/.720 in his last 15 games, with a 14-game hitting streak.

Toronto has now lost five of six series, continuing to sit below .500 with an 18-21 record, and is now five games back of a playoff spot.

Toronto will head to Baltimore to take on the Orioles for the first time this season in a three-game series starting tomorrow. Jays starter José Berríos (4-3, 2.85) will look to rebound from allowing eight runs in his last start, going up against Orioles ace Corbin Burnes (3-2, 2.83), who was acquired in an offseason trade from the Milwaukee Brewers.

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