A Santiago Espinal three-run ninth-inning blast to go with earlier solo shots from George Springer, Alejandro Kirk and Matt Chapman fell short in the Toronto Blue Jays’ 8-6 rubber-match loss to the visiting Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
Espinal’s one-out homer gave the Blue Jays (31-22) their 22nd round-tripper in their last 11 games. But four batters later, Bo Bichette grounded out to third to end the game, leaving runners on first and third.
Minnesota leadoff hitter Luis Arraez belted four singles to lead the Twins’ 16-hit attack as Minnesota won two of three games.
Making his fifth start this season, Smeltzer (3-0) gave up two homers but only four hits. To end the first and to begin the third inning, he got six ground-ball outs, including a double play to escape the first inning.
The American League Central-leading Twins (32-24) roughed up Blue Jays starter Kevin Gausman (5-4) in the first two innings.
Gausman gave up singles to Arraez and Sanchez in a 31-pitch first inning. Arraez scored when Toronto’s Teoscar Hernandez muffed a fly ball in the swirling right-field winds.
Sanchez then scored on Gio Urshela’s ground ball to Bichette. Polanco touched home plate on Jose Miranda’s single to center for a 3-0 lead.
Hernandez did throw out Miranda on his race to third base when Gilberto Celestino singled to right.
Nick Gordon led off with a triple and scored on Jermaine Palacios’s single to right. Palacios touched home three batters later on Jorge Polanco’s infield hit down the third-base line.
Kirk smacked his fourth homer in five games into the second deck down the left-field line with two out in the fourth inning.
After Larnach made it 6-2 in the seventh with a homer to right, Chapman smashed his one-out shot to left in the bottom of the inning.
Gausman surrendered nine hits with three strikeouts and a walk before giving way to a series of Toronto relievers.
Sanchez’s two-run homer in the eighth came off Blue Jays pitcher Jeremy Beasley with two out.