The first ball landed just past an outstretched Nick Gordon, who raced back from his position at shortstop to try to nab it. The second dropped in between center field Byron Buxton, second baseman Jorge Polanco and Gordon.

Neither was hit hard.

The third one sure was, though. Danny Jansen’s three-run homer landed in the stands and helped sink starting pitcher Griffin Jax and the Twins in a 5-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon at Target Field.

Jax’s start could have looked a lot different if the two softly-hit balls — neither was hit harder than 70 miles per hour off the bat — hadn’t fallen in. Instead, he was bitten once again by the longball on a day when both the rookie and his manager thought he threw the ball well.

Jax viewed those two hits, as well as one in the first inning, as three hits that nine times out of 10 would have been outs.

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But not on Sunday.

“A majority of the time, those are going to go my way,” Jax said. “Unfortunately they didn’t today. But I think for the most part, those two home runs were the only thing that beat me today.”

Jax gave up one more home run in his five-inning start, to George Springer in the fifth inning. That pair of home runs brought Jax up to 23 on the year — in just 75 innings. Jax has now given up a home run in 10 straight starts, and a home run in all but two of his 17 major-league outings.

“Down in the minors, some of the pitches that I could be making … they’d be outs or they’d be missing it,” Jax said. “But here, they don’t.”

His own offense hit one home run — Byron Buxton’s 16th of the season — but never captured a lead after falling behind by three runs to the Blue Jays (87-69) in the second inning.

Buxton’s home run tied a career high set in 2017. This time, he did it in 55 games, as opposed to the 140 games it took him to get to 16 home runs back then.

“He’s been basically the best player in baseball for the time he’s had on the field,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “ … Buck is a great player. We see it every day when he’s out here.”

Buxton’s home run was the only offense in the game for the Twins (69-87) besides a Jake Cave RBI single in the second. Blue Jays starter Alek Manoah gave up just the two runs in 5 2/3 innings pitched while striking out eight.

The Twins finished the day 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position, leaving eight on base.

“At every point really we felt like we were absolutely in the game. A baserunner and a big swing away from something happening. I think we got beat today, every way you kind of look at it,” Baldelli said. “…We didn’t get enough baserunners out there. We didn’t take advantage of the ones we did get out there. We needed to do more offensively.”

Briefly

Rookie pitcher Joe Ryan, who is currently on the bereavement/family medical emergency list, is scheduled to start on Thursday. Baldelli said the Twins did not want him to come back and rush back into his start, so this will allow him to throw a bullpen after his return. … Michael Pineda is scheduled to start the second game against the Tigers; the Twins have not named a starter for Tuesday’s series opener.