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Correa's grand slam leads Twins past Blue Jays in 9-4 comeback victory

TORONTO — Even with Alek Manoah gone, hoping to rediscover his pitching prowess at the team's spring training complex in Dunedin, Fla., his spot in the rotation continues to haunt the Toronto Blue Jays.
Minnesota Twins' Carlos Correa (4) celebrates with his teammates after hitting a grand slam against the Toronto Blue Jays during eighth inning American League MLB baseball action in Toronto on Saturday, June 10, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Arlyn McAdorey

TORONTO — Even with Alek Manoah gone, hoping to rediscover his pitching prowess at the team's spring training complex in Dunedin, Fla., his spot in the rotation continues to haunt the Toronto Blue Jays.

Carlos Correa's eighth-inning grand slam home run off reliever Adam Cimber spearheaded the Minnesota Twins' 9-4 comeback win over the Blue Jays on Saturday.

The Blue Jays optioned Manoah to the Florida Complex League on Tuesday to work out his troubles.

Correa belted his second career bases-loaded home run into the first row in left field to give the Twins (33-32) a second straight win in the three-game set against the Blue Jays (36-30).

"That felt really good," Correa said. "I'm not going to lie. Bases loaded, we're down, to just turn the game upside down like that, it was a great one."

The Twins sent 10 batters to the plate in the eighth. Two hitters after Correa, Max Kepler smacked a three-run shot to right-centre field.

Cimber (0-2) managed one strikeout against the seven batters he faced. It was the first time Cimber surrendered a grand slam.

With an outpouring of jeers from the 41,990 at Rogers Centre, Cimber was replaced by Mitch White, who surrendered the Kepler blow.

"It was an easy decision," Toronto manager John Schneider said of putting Cimber in to begin the eighth. "What we had available and the way the game was going out.

"He's been there before and trusted him. It's a bunt single and a broken-bat single, and things unravelled from there."

Schneider did not have Jimi Garcia, Erik Swanson and Nate Pearson because of their work out of the bullpen in the series opener on Friday.

"It's tough, but it's part of the game," Toronto starter Trevor Richards said of the Cimber outing. "We all know it changes quickly."

Cimber and White wiped out a solid seven innings from Richards, Tim Mayza and Bowden Francis.

The trio combined to yield five hits, a walk and 12 strikeouts. 

After surrendering a leadoff double, Richards retired the next eight Twins, striking out six. He then gave up a walk before fanning his final batter in his three-inning outing.

"I'll do whatever they want. I want to pitch as much as possible," said Richards, whose 53 pitches was the most he's thrown in a game since a 53-pitch outing on July 22, 2019.

Mayza tossed the next 1 1/3 innings, striking out two more Twins. Francis lasted 2 2/3 innings, but gave up a leadoff homer in the seventh inning to straightaway centre field from Trevor Larnach.

He wanted to go another inning. But this only was his second MLB appearance, the first since his Toronto debut on April 22, 2022.

"It was a good day, but not a good day for the team," Francis said.

The Blue Jays built a 3-0 lead with runs in the second, third and fifth innings. Matt Chapman walked to open the second inning, took second base on Alejandro Kirk's ground out to short and scored on Whit Merrifield's single to right.

In the third, designated hitter Brandon Belt drove a two-out double to right and scored on a long single to centre from Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

George Springer began the fifth inning with a double off the centre-field wall. He advanced to third on Bo Bichette's fly out to right field and scored on Nathan Lukes's sacrifice fly to centre.

Lukes hit for Belt in the fifth inning after the latter exited the game with left hamstring tightness.

Minnesota starter Joe Ryan lasted six innings, giving up three runs on six hits, striking out four and walking one. Reliever Jorge Lopez (2-2) recorded the win.

The teams traded runs in the ninth.


Canadian Edouard Julien led off the game with a double down the right-field line for his 15th career hit in 20 games. He finished 2-for-3 with a single, a walk and a strikeout.

The Twins promoted the Quebec City native from the triple-A St. Paul on Saturday after second baseman Jorge Polanco was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain.

Julien, 24, made his MLB debut with the Twins on April 12 and smacked his first homer the next day at Yankee Stadium. He played for Canada at the 2019 Pan American Games and the 2023 World Baseball Classic.


Kevin Gausman (5-3) will start for the Blue Jays in the series finale on Sunday against Minnesota's Louie Varland (3-2).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2023.

Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press