Blue Jays’ Gausman exits after four innings, struggles again vs. Twins

Watch as Minnesota Twins' Royce Lewis cranks a no-doubter off Kevin Gausman for an early lead in the AL WC Game 1 against the Blue Jays.

The Toronto Blue Jays had their best starter lined up for their playoff opener on Tuesday, seemingly an ideal scenario for the club.

Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, Kevin Gausman‘s struggles against the Minnesota Twins continued at Target Field in Game 1 of the best-of-three wild-card series.

A shaky Gausman gave up two homers to Royce Lewis and was replaced by Erik Swanson in the fifth inning with the Blue Jays down 3-0. The Twins went on to win 3-1.

“Obviously he went up there looking for fastballs and got them,” Gausman said of Lewis. “In the first inning, I missed my spot by three and a half feet. Good hitters are going to make you pay for that. He’s hitting three-hole for a reason. He’s a good player.”

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The right-hander came into the game with a 6.35 ERA in 11 career starts against the Twins.

Things didn’t go any better Tuesday as Gausman gave up three runs on three hits and three walks while striking out five. He threw 73 pitches, 43 for strikes.

Lewis, playing for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury on Sept. 19, gave the Twins a 2-0 lead in the first with a two-run homer off Gausman. The starter needed 27 pitches to get through the first as he walked two batters and also had PitchCom issues, calling for a replacement. Gausman had some words for home-plate umpire Andy Fletcher as he returned to the dugout.

Gausman stranded two runners in the second, but as his pitch count elevated, the Blue Jays got Genesis Cabrera warming in the bullpen.

Lewis hit another homer, a solo shot, in the third, prompting Yimi Garcia to start warming up.

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Tim Mayza started warming up with the Blue Jays batting in the top of the fourth before the Blue Jays eventually turned to Swanson when the Twins came up in the fifth.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays couldn’t score a run against Pablo Lopez while Gausman was in the game — a familiar lack of support for the club’s top starter.

The Blue Jays got the chance to start Gausman in the opener after they clinched a playoff spot on the second-last day of the season thanks to the Texas Rangers, who beat the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night.

The Blue Jays also started Gausman in what turned out to be their final playoff game last year. He exited in the sixth with the Blue Jays up 8-1, but the Mariners rallied for a 10-9 win to sweep the wild-card series at Rogers Centre.

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