MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Byron Buxton’s two-run homer spoiled José Berríos’ return to Minnesota and dealt a blow to Toronto’s postseason hopes as the Twins beat the Blue Jays 3-1 on Friday night.
Buxton hit his 15th home run of the season in a three-run third inning against Berríos (12-9), who was making his first start in Minnesota since being dealt to Toronto at the trade deadline. Berríos pitched six seasons for the Twins after being a first-round draft pick by the club in 2012.
The final road trip of the season has complicated the Blue Jays’ chances for a playoff spot. Toronto is 1-4 on the trip after going 1-2 in Tampa Bay and losing the first two games in Minnesota.
The New York Yankees beat Boston 8-3 on Friday, with the teams tied for the top AL wild-card spot. The Blue Jays are three games back.
Marcus Semien hit his 42nd home run for Toronto, a solo shot to the bullpens in left-center in the sixth inning. Semien is one homer shy of the all-time record for second basemen, set by Davey Johnson with Atlanta in 1973. He equaled Minnesota’s Brian Dozier (2016) and St. Louis Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby (1922).
Bailey Ober (3-3) surrendered one run over 5 1/3 innings for Minnesota, which has won four in a row, yet still sits in last place in the AL Central.
Berríos, who is 12th on the Twins’ all-time list in strikeouts and 15th in wins, received a warm ovation from the crowd after being announced. He walked Andrelton Simmons to open the third and Luis Arraez followed with a triple. Then, Buxton unloaded deep to straightaway centerfield for a homer against his former teammate.
Berríos finished with three runs allowed in six innings with 10 strikeouts.
GOOD AND BAD
Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said the news on Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s injured hand was good and bad. Gurriel doesn’t have any broken bones after his hand was stepped on by teammate Randal Grichuk on an outfield play in Thursday’s game. Gurriel did receive stitches in his middle finger.
Montoyo said Gurriel is day to day. Montoyo said throwing will be tougher than hitting for Gurriel, hinting at a possible earlier return as a DH.
ROOM FOR MORE
The Blue Jays announced increased ballpark capacity for the final six home games of the season. Capacity will be increased to 30,000 for the final homestand of the regular season.
Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination is required for all fans 12-and-under. The team said a negative COVID-19 test will no longer be accepted, except for individuals with a doctor’s note indicating they have a medical exemption.
Toronto hosts the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles in three-game series.
Blue Jays: RHP Joakim Soria was reinstated from the family medical emergency list. RHP Thomas Hatch, who was injured in Friday’s game, was placed on the 10-day injured list with right hamstring tendonitis. … INF Santiago Espinal was reinstated from the 10-day injured list. INF Kevin Smith was optioned to Triple-A.
Twins: OF Max Kepler was out of the lineup as he deals with an illness unrelated to COVID-19. Manager Rocco Baldelli said Kepler could possibly miss Saturday’s game as well.
Blue Jays: LHP Robbie Ray (12-6, 2.72 ERA) starts Saturday evening. Ray, the AL pitcher of the month for August, has allowed seven runs in 16 innings (3.94) over his last three starts.
Twins: Minnesota hadn’t announced a starter for Saturday, in part, because rookie RHP Joe Ryan left the team Friday to travel to San Francisco to deal with a family-related matter. Ryan could possibly return to start Sunday. Griffin Jax is currently scheduled to start Sunday.
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