Twins top Blue Jays 7-3 behind clutch Polanco, strong bullpen

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MINNEAPOLIS — Jorge Polanco had a pair of two-out RBIs and Jose Miranda homered for the Minnesota Twins, who beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-3 behind a stellar bullpen performance on Saturday night.

All-Star Luis Arraez went 3 for 5 with an RBI for the first-place Twins, who kept their two-game lead on Cleveland in the AL Central.

Arraez doubled twice and scored on both of Polanco’s clutch hits – a single in the third inning off Blue Jays starter Mitch White (1-3) and a double in the fifth after White was replaced by Tim Mayza.

Mayza had a painful night, ending with a dislocated non-throwing shoulder. Three batters after surrendering Miranda’s 11th home run to start the sixth, Mayza charged a squeeze bunt that Sandy Leon dropped down in front of the mound for a single to score the speedy Nick Gordon.

His only chance was to try to scoop the ball in his glove and in the same motion either flip it to the plate or tag Gordon, but he whiffed and whacked Gordon with his fully extended right arm. It bent awkwardly in the collision, causing Mayza to writhe around in the dirt for a few seconds before walking off slowly while clutching his shoulder. Mayza, who’s had a solid season with a 2.88 ERA, is Toronto’s only current left-handed reliever.

Bo Bichette hit a tying two-run homer off Twins starter Dylan Bundy in the fourth inning and an RBI single in the eighth, the only run allowed in five innings by Minnesota’s trade-boosted bullpen.

Jhoan Duran inherited runners at the corners with one out in the eighth and gave up Bichette’s bouncer up the middle, but the right-hander who leads the major leagues in 100 mph pitches handed Matt Chapman his fourth strikeout of the game on a 101 mph heater and retired Whit Merrifield on a fielder’s choice grounder to end the inning with a 5-3 lead.

Trevor Megill (3-1) led off the relief parade with a perfect fifth, and newly acquired closer Jorge Lopez finished up with a hitless ninth after blowing his save chance on Friday night in the 6-5 win by the Twins in 10 innings.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went 2 for 5 with a run scored to extend his career-high hitting streak to 17 straight games for the Blue Jays, who lead the AL wild card race. They are three games ahead of Baltimore, the first club below the three-team cut.

The two-time All-Star Guerrero is batting .420 (29 for 69) with eight doubles, three homers and 12 RBIs during his streak.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: CF George Springer landed on the 10-day injured list with lingering inflammation in his right elbow that kept him out of four of the previous five games.

Twins: RF Max Kepler was reinstated from the 10-day injured list, recovered from a broken pinky toe on his right foot. He was hit there by a pitch on July 24.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: RHP Kevin Gausman (8-8, 3.06 ERA) pitches the finale of the four-game series. He threw eight shutout innings with just one hit and one walk allowed in his last start against Tampa Bay.

Twins: RHP Chris Archer (2-5, 4.05 ERA) takes the mound on Sunday afternoon. He had a season-high eight strikeouts in his last turn, but he has failed to finish five innings in four straight outings.

Gallegos agrees to $11M, 2-year contract with Cardinals

Atlanta Braves v St. Louis Cardinals
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ST. LOUIS – Reliever Giovanny Gallegos and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed Monday to an $11 million, two-year contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2025 and escalators that could make it worth $20.5 million over three seasons.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 3-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 14 saves in 20 chances this season. He has 72 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58 2/3 innings.

“I feel so happy,” Gallegos said Monday before the Cardinals played the Pirates in Pittsburgh. “I don’t have the word for exactly how I’m feeling.”

He was obtained from the Yankees in July 2018 along with left-hander Chasen Shreve in the trade that sent first baseman Luke Voit to New York. Gallegos is 14-15 with a 3.02 ERA and 34 saves in six major league seasons.

Gallegos gets a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $4.5 million next year and $5.5 million in 2024. St. Louis has a $6.5 million team option for 2025 with a $500,000 buyout.

His 2025 option price can increase by up to $3.5 million for games finished in 2024: $500,000 each for 20-25 and 26-30 and 31-35, and $1 million apiece for 36-40 and 41 or more.

He would get $250,000 for winning the Rivera/Hoffman reliever of the year award, $50,000 for All-Star selection and World Series MVP and $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP.

Gallegos has a $2.41 million salary this year.

He was eligible for salary arbitration and is potentially eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.