TORONTO — Missed chances proved costly for the Blue Jays as they lost 5-4 to the Washington Nationals on Tuesday, dealing another blow to Toronto's wildcard chances.
In the ninth inning, Toronto was two bases behind with no one out but could only come across one run.
Kyle Finnegan got cleanup hitter Danny Jansen to come up with runners in goal position to end the game when the Blue Jays were 3 1/2 games from a playoff spot.
“You get the guys you want and it didn't work out,” Toronto manager John Schneider said.
Washington's Carter Kieboom hit a two-run throw in the second inning ahead of Toronto's starter Jose Berrios and Keibert Ruiz added a three-run throw in the fifth inning.
Davis Schneider scored for the Blue Jays (72-61) who have lost five of their last seven games.
“Tonight was my thing,” Berrios said. “Two home runs and five runs. I'm not happy about that.”
The Texas Rangers and Houston Astros won their games to remain tied for the last two wildcard spots and one game ahead of Toronto.
“We all know that at the moment every defeat and every win is precious,” said John Schneider. “Any loss sucks but it's a quick turnaround so we have to be ready to go tomorrow.”
Cavan Biggio and Kevin Kiermaier started with singles at the end of the ninth inning before a walk by George Springer.
Finnegan responded by knocking out Schneider and taking Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to an RBI groundout. Jansen completed a full count before being kicked out in foul territory.
The Nationals (62-71) won for the sixth time in nine games. It was Finnegan's 25th save of the season.
“He's ice,” said Nationals manager Dave Martinez. “He really is.”
Washington starter MacKenzie Gore (7-10) allowed one earned run and six hits over five innings. He had two walks and two strikeouts.
With Dominic Smith on board after a single, Kieboom converted a first pitch sinker for his third home run of the season. With his sixth home run of the year, Schneider halved the lead.
In the fifth set, Berrios (9-10) was one shot away from a scoreless frame, but Joey Meneses hit a single in a full-count pitch to put runners in the corners. Ruiz followed with his 16th home run of the season.
Berrios gave up five earned runs and six hits in his six-innings appearance. He had two strikeouts and walked a pair.
“I thought he was fine,” said John Schneider. “It was just a couple of fastballs that eluded him.”
Washington's Jacob Young scored his first major league hit with a bunt single in the seventh inning against Bowden Francis.
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The Blue Jays nailed the potential tie in the eighth round. Whit Merrifield traded a double from Alejandro Kirk to third base and later scored on a wild pitch.
Kirk — likely the slowest Blue Jay on the roster — captured third base and attempted to score into midfield on the flyout of pinch-hitter Daulton Varsho.
Young's throw was on target and Ruiz made the tag for the double play at the end of the inning.
“Helping the team win in this way is something I'll never forget for my first assist,” Young said.
Reported attendance at Rogers Center was 39,722. The game lasted two hours and 55 minutes.
Ernie Clement's most recent outing started as shortstop for Toronto after Bo Bichette was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right quadriceps strain.
Bichette's second IL stint this month came a day after third baseman Matt Chapman was put on the 10-day list with a finger injury.
Santiago Espinal started on the Blue Jays' third base.
The teams will wrap up the three-game streak on Wednesday with an afternoon matchup.
Right-hander Chris Bassitt (12-7, 4.00 earned run average) is scheduled to take on left-hander Patrick Corbin (9-11, 4.70) for the Blue Jays.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 29, 2023.
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