Blue Jays remain a thorn in Duffey's side

Right-hander allows six runs over 5 2/3 innings in loss to Toronto

Blue Jays remain a thorn in Duffey's side

MINNEAPOLIS -- In 13 career starts when he's not facing the Blue Jays, Twins right-hander Tyler Duffey has a 2.13 ERA.

Unfortunately for Duffey, who struggled in his Major League debut in Toronto last year, he turned in another rough outing against the Blue Jays in a 9-3 loss on Friday night at Target Field. Duffey fell to 0-2 with a 14.09 ERA in two career starts against Toronto, giving up 12 runs in 7 2/3 innings. It extended Minnesota's losing streak to five games and dropped the Twins to 10-31, which is the worst record in the Majors.

Duffey said he simply did not execute his pitches, especially his curveball, which caused him to fall behind in the count -- dangerous against a team with so many offensive weapons. The Blue Jays entered the game hitting .297/.483/.532 when their hitters were ahead in the count.

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"We talked about it in our meeting that if you get behind, that's when they feast," Duffey said. "If you get into those fastball counts, they get comfortable in the box. I tried to mix it up and go away, getting a lot of popups early, but then I tried to get too cute with some stuff. I was missing a lot, especially to the righties with the breaking ball. Instead of knowing what I could do, I was trying to be too fine with some breaking balls."

Duffey's first big mistake came in the third, when he gave up a two-run blast to Josh Donaldson on a 3-2 curveball that caught too much of the zone. Duffey just missed on a fastball away to run the count full, and thought he could get a curveball by Donaldson, but he left it up and over the plate.

"The 3-2 homer from Donaldson, I was trying to get it over instead of throwing a good one," Duffey said. "In retrospect, I shouldn't have done that."

Duffey entered the sixth with the Twins trailing by a run, but it unraveled from there, as he gave up a one-out RBI double to right to Troy Tulowitzki on a 2-1 fastball. He was able to strike out Justin Smoak, but couldn't get out of the inning, as he allowed a two-out RBI single to Jimmy Paredes on a 2-2 fastball that knocked him from the game. Reliever Trevor May came in and promptly gave up a three-run blast to Jose Bautista on 2-1 fastball with two of the runs charged to Duffey.

"It was a good game for five innings," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He left the ball up to Donaldson but he hung in there. But in the sixth inning, they just kind of pecked away. They had some good at-bats and two-strike knocks. Once we went to the bullpen, the ball started flying around a little bit."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.