Gomes, Gose help Blue Jays bring home win

Gomes, Gose help Blue Jays bring home win

Gomes, Gose help Blue Jays bring home win
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays and Twins are playing a meaningless three-game set, at least as far as the standings are concerned, to close out a 2012 season that both teams would rather forget.

But to the Blue Jays, these games matter, even if they can't finish better than fourth place in the American League East. Toronto was down to its final out in the ninth inning, but refused to hand Minnesota a victory.

Yan Gomes forced extra innings with a solo homer in the ninth inning before Anthony Gose propelled the Blue Jays to a 6-5 win over the Twins with a walk-off single in the 10th in front of a season-low crowd of 12,359 to kick off the final series of the year at Rogers Centre on Monday.

"That's pretty special, to actually contribute in that way to help the team win," said Gose, who recorded the first walk-off hit of his career with his first hit of the game. "It felt real special."

Adeiny Hechavarria started off the 10th-inning rally with a one-out single to right field. Hechavarria was able to advance to second base after Twins reliever Brian Duensing threw a wild pitch with pinch-hitter J.P. Arencibia at the plate.

Arencibia ended up striking out, but Twins catcher Drew Butera was unable to hold on to the ball. After making sure Hechavarria didn't move to third, Butera threw down to first but hit Arencibia, who was called out on the play for running off the baseline. Manager John Farrell came out to argue and was ejected from the game.

That set the stage for Gose, who ripped a 2-2 offering up the middle to score Hechavarria and lead Toronto.

"I was really just trying to put the ball in play and give myself a chance -- wasn't really thinking base hit or anything, just put it in play and find a way to get on," Gose said.

The Blue Jays got a big inning by reliever Brandon Lyon in the top half of the frame to keep the game tied.

Lyon worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the 10th by getting Butera to pop up to second, before striking out Pedro Florimon to escape the threat.

"We had some chances. But we didn't have good at-bats to get the runs then," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

The heroics began in the ninth inning before Toronto capped things off in the 10th.

Trailing, 5-4, Gomes -- who took over first base in the eighth inning after Adam Lind was lifted for a pinch-runner in the seventh -- sent the game into extras by hitting a 1-0 fastball off Twins closer Glen Perkins over the fence in left field for his fourth home run of the season.

"I got a good pitch to hit, and hit it pretty well," Gomes said. "I know it sounds like the games don't count, but it really does for everybody here to keep the momentum going for next year and showing kind of what we have going."

Starter Aaron Laffey, who experienced back tightness between starts, labored through five innings of work in his final outing of the season and left down, 4-1.

After getting through the first inning unscathed, Laffey ran into trouble in the second. He walked Chris Parmelee to begin the frame, and then allowed a first-pitch two-run homer to Trevor Plouffe, his 24th of the season, that put the Twins ahead, 2-1.

The following inning, Plouffe got to Laffey again, when he yanked a 3-2 fastball down the left-field line for an RBI double to give the Twins a 3-1 lead.

Laffey had a clean fourth inning before allowing one more in the fifth on an RBI single to Joe Mauer. He finished his final start of the season by allowing four runs -- three earned -- on eight hits, with no walks or strikeouts.

The left-hander was slotted into a rotation that was decimated by injuries in June and delivered at first, going 2-1 over his first six starts and 10 appearances, with a 3.22 ERA. But fatigue caught up to him, and he didn't earn a victory in six starts before picking up a victory his last outing.

Farrell said that Laffey was pitching on "guile and guts" and Laffey, who saw a drop in velocity his past couple starts, admitted he knew he didn't have his best stuff early on in the outing, but was proud of the way his season unfolded.

Laffey felt he needed to prove that he could be a Major League starter after spending the past two seasons pitching out of the bullpen, when he wasn't in the Minor Leagues.

"I've put myself back in that category of being viewed as a starter going forward, and going into next season as a starter as well," said Laffey, who finished with a 4-6 record and 4.56 ERA. "That was really important for me before this season, and really just staying with that mentality all year."

The 27-year-old, who made 22 appearances with Toronto this season -- 16 of them starts -- cracked the 100- inning mark for the second time in his career. His 16 starts match the second most he has made in a season, behind the 19 he made with the Indians in 2009.

"For the most part, I was able to take advantage of the opportunity and get myself back to where I wanted to be," Laffey said.

Lind, who finished the contest 4-for-4, recorded his second four-hit game of the season, and is now batting .298 in 198 at-bats since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas at the end of June.

Chris Toman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.