Twins win on wild walk-off in 10th inning

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Nick Gordon had an eye on the ball as he approached home plate. He could tell that Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen didn’t have ahold of it, and after he slid headfirst into home, he made the safe motion with his arm a few times while yelling “safe, safe,” to home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott.

Tim Beckham, who had hit the ground ball to third, had his head down as he hustled to first. He didn’t realize what had happened until he heard the crowd erupt into cheers.

“I looked back, like, “Oh, what do we got?’” Beckham said. “Baseball’s crazy.”

Friday night’s game sure was.

After missing out on scoring opportunities in the later innings and seeing the Blue Jays tie the game up with two outs in the ninth, the Twins charged back for a wild win, beating the Blue Jays 6-5 in 10 innings in front of a boisterous crowd on Friday night at Target Field.

“I’ve never been to the playoffs in the big leagues but that definitely felt like an intense game there,” Gordon said. “… It teaches you and it shows you. Kind of dig deep, see what we’ve got and man, we’re right there. I feel like we’ve got a really, really good team.”

The intensity ratcheted up towards the end as both teams failed to convert with the bases loaded. The Twins (56-50), who were looking to extend their lead in the later innings, had a leadoff double in both the seventh and eighth innings that they could not plate.

And in the ninth, after the Blue Jays (59-47) battled back — Ramiel Tapia’s soft single off new reliever Jorge López tied the game up — the Twins loaded the bases and left them loaded. They finished the day just 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

But while they were unable to pad their lead late and push across runs in the ninth to win it then, the Blue Jays encountered the same fate an inning later. Michael Fulmer struck out three batters in 10th but a walk and single, combined with the automatic runner, loaded the bases before that happened.

“Do we need to have better at-bats in those situations? Maybe we do, but we didn’t get them at this point, so what’s next?” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We have to go out there and keep pitching and making plays … it’s not going to feel great saying this but we almost earned the opportunity to still get to the 10th inning with a chance to win the game with a runner on second and we did. I’ll take that because we fought today and we found a way to win.”

Minnesota initially looked it would win on the strength of Tyler Mahle’s first start as a Twin and an offensive outburst against their former teammate, José Berríos, who was unable to get through the fourth inning.

Berríos was tagged for five runs, three of which came on a three-run blast from Gordon, who collected three hits in the win. Mahle, meanwhile, held the Blue Jays off the board until the fifth inning before a trio of home runs in his final two innings of work helped the Blue Jays creep back in.

Mahle, after the game, lamented the location of the three home run balls. But with his six innings, he kept the Twins in the game and was in line for a win until the ninth.

While the win didn’t come for Mahle, it did for the Twins.

“Whatever you’ve got to do to make things happen, that’s what we did,” Mahle said. “And walked away with the win.”

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