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Twins’ bullpen implodes in loss to Blue Jays

The Twins’ bullpen issues cropped up again as three relievers surrender three runs apiece

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Tyler Duffey pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays on Aug. 4, 2022 at Target Field.
Brad Rempel / USA Today Sports
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The Minnesota Twins’ newly fortified bullpen was nearly flawless on Wednesday afternoon. Newcomers Michael Fulmer and Jorge Lopez each fired a scoreless frame as the bullpen warded off the Tigers in the last four innings of the game.

But the Twins’ bullpen issues cropped up again on Thursday with three different relievers surrendering three runs apiece to Toronto, turning a tight game between two playoff contenders into a blowout. The Twins fell 9-3 to the Blue Jays on Thursday night at Target Field, watching a one-run deficit turn into a seven-run margin in matter of mere minutes.

Starter Sonny Gray gave up just one hit in his outing, but five walks helped balloon his pitch count, forcing him out of the game after five innings. And when the bullpen came in, the potent Toronto (59-46) offense feasted.

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Emilio Pagan almost immediately gave up the lead, surrendering a home run to Teoscar Hernandez. Two more runs scored in the inning — one unearned after Carlos Correa fired a ball past Luis Arraez at first base, allowing a baserunner, who eventually scored, to move up two bases.

The Twins (55-50), who scored their first run in a painful way — with the bases loaded in the fourth, rookie Jose Miranda was hit on the hand by a pitch, forcing in a run — chipped away in the bottom of the sixth, using a Miranda grounder to plate Jorge Polanco. But while the Twins’ offense was mostly quiet against all-star Alek Manoah and the Blue Jays’ bullpen — they finished with just three hits — the Blue Jays broke the game open.

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Trevor Megill, in his second inning of work, allowed three hits in the eighth before being pulled. Tyler Duffey then followed, allowing a pair of inherited runners to score, as well as three of his own on a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. blast that helped seal the Twins’ fate on Thursday night.

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