Of the 18 games of his big-league career, the 23-year-old has far less professional experience than most pitchers who are entrusted with such meaningful games, but at some point in the last four. months, he went from unproven rookie to great confidence. -boot game. And so nothing in the task in front of Manoah seemed out of place as he made his way to the left center pitch with airpods and blue socks pulled up just below the knee.
By limiting the Twins to just two points in 5.2 innings of work on Sunday afternoon, Manoah continued to show he was capable of delivering results in big games en route to a 5-2 win that earned to the Blue Jays a split streak in Minneapolis and adds intrigue to the last six games of the season.
Now 87-69, the Blue Jays are sure to win a full standings game against either the Yankees or the Red Sox, who play Sunday night in Boston. At the end of the night, Toronto will lag one of its rivals AL East by just 1.0 and the other by 2.0, setting up a memorable final week of the season that kicks off Tuesday when the Yankees will visit the Rogers Center.
Manoah knocked the Twins off balance all afternoon, mixing hard sliders and four-stitched fastballs to induce plenty of weak contacts. He struck out eight at bat while allowing six hits and throwing 102 shots, the hardest of which was clocked at 95 mph on the radar gun.
After Sunday, Manoah’s season ERA stands at 3.35 in 104.2 innings, making him a legitimate candidate for Rookie of the Year. More importantly, he’s a pitcher the Blue Jays can continue to rely on as games take on extra meaning. His next start will be against the Baltimore Orioles on the last weekend of the season, and after that, the team’s makers won’t hesitate to use him in a playoff series.
Offensively, the Blue Jays no longer seem unstoppable, but they are scoring enough. They started in the second inning when Danny Jansen followed the hits of Corey Dickerson and Santiago Espinal with a three-run homerun.
Three innings later, George Springer hit a solo home run – his second in as many games after struggling for much of September. Springer, who started in DH on Sunday after playing back-to-back games in center field, also scored twice and headed for his first three-hit game since August 4.
In the eighth round, a brace from Teoscar Hernandez RBI gave the pen a bit more breathing room, but they didn’t need it. Tim Mayza and Adam Cimber both pitched scoreless innings before Jordan Romano came in and made a four-out save.
With that, the Blue Jays ended the road portion of a season that at times felt like a long road trip. Then, a return home and a week that will end either with a bitter disappointment or with a place in the playoffs.