Blue Jays come up dry with runners in scoring position

Blue Jays come up dry with runners in scoring position

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Blue Jays had to feel like they let a win slip through their fingers, following a 3-2 loss to the Twins on Saturday afternoon that very easily could have gone the other way.

Toronto's lineup has scored more runs than any other team in baseball, but the timely hitting was nowhere to be seen at Target Field. Those games are going to happen every now and then, but what will stick with the Blue Jays after this loss was how many prime opportunities were missed.

The Blue Jays went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base. They had at least one runner on base in six innings, yet only had a Kevin Pillar solo homer and an unearned run to show for their efforts.

"We had a lot of opportunities early, but I tip my hat to [Kyle] Gibson, to hold us to what he did," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Minnesota's starter. "We had him on the ropes for a few innings, but he got some key outs at some key times."

Toronto's best opportunities to score came during the third and sixth innings. In the third, the bases were loaded with one out when Russell Martin hit a weak dribbler back to the mound that was turned into an inning-ending double play. In the sixth, with one run already in, Toronto had runners on second and third with nobody out but came away empty-handed.

Gibson starts double play

The lack of production left right-hander Aaron Sanchez with a no-decision, after he allowed two runs over six strong innings. He allowed seven hits and walked three, while striking out five. It marked his third consecutive quality start and his first one on the road this season.

The one-run loss has become a recurring trend. Toronto dropped to 3-11 in those games this year, and that's something the Blue Jays will have to improve upon if they plan on realistically contending in the American League East. Those losses often have more to do with the bullpen than the offense. But this was a rare afternoon when the lineup didn't hold up its end of the bargain.

"We just need to continue what we're doing," Sanchez said of the pitching staff. "Keeping the team in the game and giving them a chance to score. We have a team that can put up a lot of runs at any point in the game. For us, to just go out there and keep us in the game, I think that's the name of the game. You know what these guys are capable of doing in any given inning."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.