Surging Twins win 17th game in past 20, beating Blue Jays

12 May 2024

TORONTO >> When the Twins first started to turn their season around last month, much of their success was a product of their offense finally starting to break out.

“I was thinking to myself, ‘What happens when the starting pitchers start picking up their end?’” starter Bailey Ober said.

The Twins are seeing it now.

Ober was near his best on Sunday, helping guide the Twins to a 5-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in the series finale at the Rogers Centre.

“I felt good,” he said simply, a statement that downplays how brilliant he actually was on Sunday.

Ober faced 20 hitters on Sunday. He retired 19 of them. A two-out, Vladimir Guerrero single in the fourth inning was the only blemish on his line.

He finished his start by striking out his 10th batter of the day, Daulton Varsho, who battled him for 10 pitches before Ober emerged from the fight victorious. Varsho marked the first out of the seventh inning, at which point Ober was lifted after throwing 104 pitches.

By that point, first baseman Carlos Santana had already busted open what had been a pitcher’s duel between Ober and Blue Jays (18-22) starter Alek Manoah by hitting a three-run home run, his third homer in as many days.

“Carlos has been excellent,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He’s been a a big part of our offense really coming alive.”

That home run was the only crack Manoah showed in his seven-inning start, one in which he was mowing Twins’ (24-16) hitters down. In one inning, he did retired the side in just six pitches. In another, just four pitches.

But after Max Kepler reached base in the seventh on an error and Manoah allowed just his third hit of the day, a Willi Castro single, the Twins took advantage.

Santana’s home run marked the second time this season that he’s hit home runs in three consecutive games.

“That’s why I go to the cage every day and work hard,” the veteran said. “Practice when you’re behind in the count, so when he throws a changeup, I’m ready.”

He sure was.

Santana gave the Twins a three-run lead at the time and made a winner out of Ober, who made way for Cole Sands in the seventh.

When Sands ran into some trouble, left-hander Kody Funderburk came in and helped bail Sands out of the jam, entering with the bases loaded and just one out, and allowing just a sacrifice fly to minimize the damage.

The Twins tacked on a pair runs in the eighth, using a Kepler double to do so. That hit extended his hitting streak to 14 games, a career high.

It also helped provide the Twins some insurance on their way to a series victory, one in which they won their 17th game out of their past 20.

“That’s pretty cool to hear, especially the way we started out,” Ober said. “I think everyone’s just taking just taking it day by day and excited to show up and go out there and play. I think the belief right now, and when we’re playing, it is that we’re in it every single inning. … Guys are really starting to believe in each other and the whole team in general that we can show up and win every day.”

Need help?

If you need support, please send an email to [email protected]

Thank you.