I'll admit, I was fully expecting P.J. Walters to get lit up like a Christmas tree this start. Instead, he baffled most of the Blue Jays hitters tonight with his change-up and excellent command, and if it wasn't for the offense choking with runners in scoring position, he would have walked away with at least a no-decision. Instead, giving up two runs turned out to be too many as the Twins lost 2-1.
Walters was certainly masterful, going 6 innings while giving up only 6 hits and no walks to go with 5 strikeouts. His only damage allowed came in consecutive innings, and they were both quick and relatively painless. With the Twins already up 1-0 from a bases-loaded walk by Trevor Plouffe in the 4th inning, Walters gave up a 2-out double to Colby Rasmus in the 5th. Adam Lind followed with a single to center field, tying the score at 1.
Then in the 6th, it was familiar Twins-killer Jose Bautista. Again with two outs, the Blue Jays got their second run when Bautista deposited a Walters slider just over the fence in left field. The umpires originally ruled it a double as the ball bounced back onto the field, but replays showed that the ball landed in the flower bed before ricocheting back into play.
The Twins did show good patience at the plate again today, drawing 4 walks off Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison, but they failed to capitalize all night. The team went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position, which was blatantly on display in the 6th and 8th innings when they were unable to take advantage of leadoff doubles by Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer, respectively.
Every other hitter (combined 1 for 23)
Most of us know how notorious Twingo cards are for featuring near-impossible fielding plays (Catcher's interference next to my free space? Screw that, I'm getting a beer), but tonight we saw four defensive plays by the Blue Jays that ranged from fairly uncommon to downright once-in-a-decade. In the 3rd inning, there was the 9-3 (right field to 1st base) double play. In the 5th, there was your ol' 5-6-3 (3rd base - shortstop - 1st base) ground out. The 6th had a 1-6-3 play (pitcher - shortstop - 1st base) which doesn't sound so odd until you realize that this also netted only a single out. Finally, the 7th inning had the cherry on top, when Chris Parmelee's foul ball down the left field line bounced out of the glove from a stumbling Brett Lawrie (playing 3rd base), only to be caught by left fielder Eric Thames (5-7).
If any of you find a Twingo card with those 4 plays on it, I'll buy you a drink. If you got a Twingo with all 4 of them, then I'll buy you the Town Ball Tavern.