The Minnesota Twins got some sobering news earlier in the day, and looked very flat during their game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night, dropping their series opener at Target Field by a final score of 2-0.
On Friday morning, news had gone out that former Twins legend Harmon Killebrew, who was still a very large part of the organization, had given up his fight against esophageal cancer, moving into hospice care to live out his final days. It's hard to say how much of an effect the news had on the Twins, but it certainly wasn't anything positive.
The Twins managed just four hits against Blue Jays' starter Ricky Romero, as Romero took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Denard Span singled with two outs in the sixth to break up the no-no.
Carl Pavano pitched reasonably well for the Twins as well, going 5.1 shutout innings before being lifted for Alex Burnett. Even though the Blue Jays collected thirteen hits off of Twins pitching, they managed only two runs. The first came in the top of the seventh off of Burnett, when Corey Patterson led off the inning with a walk, and then proceeded to steal second base. After a walk to Jose Bautista, Jim Hoey came in to relieve Burnett, and promptly gave up a single to Juan Rivera that brought Patterson home with the game's first run.
Bautista gave the Jays an insurance run in the top of the ninth, as he blasted a solo home run off of Joe Nathan to provide the final margin of victory for Toronto. The Twins mounted a bit of a threat in the bottom of the ninth, getting runners to first and second and finally chasing Romero one out short of a complete game, but Frank Francisco came on and struck out Michael Cuddyer to end the game.
The victory raised Romero's record to 3-4, and dropped his ERA to 3.35. Francisco registered his third save of the year by recording the final out. Burnett ended up taking the loss for the Twins, dropping his record to 0-2 on the year.
The same two teams will get together tomorrow at Target Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 3:10 PM Central time. The Blue Jays will hand the ball to left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes (0-3, 5.00 ERA), while the Twins will go with right-hander Nick Blackburn (2-4, 3.95).