After taking the first two games from the Minnesota Twins, the Blue Jays entered today looking for their first three-game series sweep since doing so against the Royals in July. Red-hot R.A. Dickey, who entered today’s game with a 3.13 ERA in four August starts, donned the red jersey on Canada Baseball Day. He faced off against Twins’ right-hander Kyle Gibson. The Twins picked up right where they left off yesterday, falling victim to their own defensive miscues when outfielders Robbie Grossman and Danny Santana (who subsequently left the game with a sprained shoulder) collided on a fly ball off the bat of Jose Bautista for a lead-off double. Two fly balls brought Bautista home for an early 1-0 lead. The Twins capitalized on the Jays’ own defensive misplay in the third, when a single, error to Josh Donaldson, walk and a fielder’s choice contributed to a run to tie the game. Donaldson immediately made amends in the bottom of the inning when he launched his thirty-first home run of the season to give the Jays a 2-1 lead. Things got ugly for Dickey in the fifth when the Twins scored four runs on three hits, two walks, a wild pitch and a passed ball. Despite the one bad inning, Dickey threw a quality start, giving up five runs (three earned) on six hits, three walks, five strike outs and a wild pitch.
Meanwhile, the Jays’ offense simply could not be contained. A lead-off solo shot from Troy Tulowitzki followed by a Kevin Pillar double and Devon Travis RBI single brought the Jays to within one run in the bottom of the sixth. The Jays exploded for four more runs in the seventh highlighted by Donaldson’s second home run of the game and a two-run double off the bat of Melvin Upton Jr. to make it 8-5 in favour of the Jays. Donaldson would complete the baseball hat trick in the eighth inning, with a monster 417-foot solo home run to straightaway centre. The Twins would score a run off Roberto Osuna in the bottom of the ninth to make it 9-6, but it was not enough to avoid the sweep.
Top Play of the Game by WPA
Down by a run, Jose Bautista led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a single to left field. That brought Josh Donaldson to the plate, who drilled a 397-foot home run to centre field to give the Jays a 6-5 lead and the top play of the game by WPA (.356).
Bottom Play of the Game by WPA
Having already scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to pull within one run, the Jays threatened to do more damage with Travis on first and just one out. However, Josh Thole grounded into a double play to end the inning, providing the bottom play of the game by WPA (-.092).
Josh Donaldson Hat Trick
The Bringer of Rain and reigning MVP Josh Donaldson launched three home runs, causing fans to rain hats onto the field in celebration of the baseball hat trick. The occasion marked Donaldson’s first three-homer game of his career, vaulting him into a tie with Chris Davis for the third most home runs in the American League and sixth on the RBI list, once again cementing his name amongst this year’s MVP candidates. It was the twenty-first time a Blue Jays had a three-home run game. It was also Donaldson’s thirteenth home run against the Minnesota Twins, the most he’s had against any one team.
The Jays head out on the road to take on the Orioles in Baltimore in a series that, if things go the Jays’ way, could put some real distance between the two teams in the standings. The series kicks off with Marco Estrada looking to rebound after three straight shaky starts. The Orioles will counter with Wade Miley, who’s sporting a 8.18 ERA with a 1.864 WHIP in his five starts with Baltimore, during which he’s averaged just 4.4 innings per start, since being traded to Baltimore from Seattle. If the replies to this tweet from Orioles’ insider Rich Dubroff are any indication, this could be a fun and fruitful series for the Jays. Expect a roster move to make room for Dioner Navarro on the 25-man roster.
Lead Photo: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports