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MINNEAPOLIS — The Blue Jays were shut out with their season on the line.

Toronto dropped the second game of a Wild Card series against the Twins 2-0, failing to score a run when it mattered most. Despite the silent offense, it was a pitching decision that remained the most controversial move of the series.

After José Berríos followed up three shutout innings with a walk to open the fourth, the Blue Jays removed their starter from the game, opting for Yusei Kikuchi despite the early strength of their starter. Answering questions from the media moments after the game and Toronto's season ended, the Blue Jays weighed in on the move:

Manager John Schneider

After the loss, Schneider said the decision to turn from Berríos to Kikuchi the second time through the order was one of "a few different" plans the team had heading into the contest. Berríos was aware of the potential move before the contest, but it was still tough to take out the carving righty, Schneider said.

"You can sit here and second-guess me, second-guess the organization, second-guess anybody," Schneider said. "I get that. I get that. And it's tough. And it didn't work out for us today or yesterday. But that's baseball sometimes."

SP José Berríos

An emotional Berríos stood at his locker after the loss and talked about his outing and how it ended

"I understand the move so I have to deal with that," he said.

He was sad when he first came out of the contest, Berríos said, but forced himself to enjoy the moment of the postseason for the final few innings. Ultimately, the starter understood the decision because of the game stakes, he said.

"I'm a competitive guy, everybody knows I really work hard on myself," Berríos. "But, like I said, we were in an elimination game so we don't have much room to give chances to the other team."

2B/OF Whit Merrifield

Merrifield didn't mince words.

"I hated it, frankly," the utility man said after the loss. "It's not what cost us the game, but it's the kind of baseball decisions that are taking away from managers and baseball, at this stage of the game."

Merrifield, who is a pending free agent assuming his mutual option for 2024 isn't picked up, also added he's looking to sign with a team that "understands baseball" this offseason.

 "It's definitely gotta be a team that's focused on winning and understand baseball," Merrifield said on where he'd want to land in the winter. "We're getting away from that a little bit in this game. So looking forward to some conversations to have with different teams." 

CF Kevin Kiermaier

It is easy to look back at the decision after the loss, Kiermaier said, but the Blue Jays outfielder preached trusting the decisions made above and around him, as they're "always to give us the best chance of winning in the moment."

"We've made a lot of decisions throughout the year that helped us a ton," Kiermaier said. "Pinch for me with Santiago or Ernie Clement and they get the game-winning hit or double right then and there. So you just roll with the punches."

1B/DH Brandon Belt

Belt isn't in the business of second-guessing, the veteran said on the move. 

"I trust whoever's out there on the mound," Belt said. "You know, we're all competitors. I know José wants to stay out there as long as possible. And, you know, you got to trust your teammates and trust in decisions that are made."