Arencibia hits 2 HRs, Blue Jays rout Twins 13-3

Published 12:52 pm Saturday, April 2, 2011

TORONTO — The Blue Jays’ home run machine is back up and running at full speed.

J.P. Arencibia homered twice and drove in five runs, Jose Bautista and Adam Lind also went deep and Toronto routed Minnesota 13-3 on Friday night, handing the Twins their third straight season-opening loss.

“I really feel like the team is excited about what’s going on here,” Arencibia said. “That was the biggest thing for me. I had so much fun playing behind these guys. Everyone from top to bottom had a great game.”

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Arencibia, who also hit two homers in his major league debut last August, slammed a two-run drive to center in the fourth inning, tripled home a pair of runs in the fifth and capped his night with a leadoff shot to right in the eighth. He finished 3 for 4 and set a career high for RBIs.

“The kid is showing what he can do,” batterymate Ricky Romero said. “He’s only going to continue to get better.”

Bautista, baseball’s reigning home run king, went back-to-back with Lind in the fifth as the Blue Jays, who led the majors with 257 home runs last season, wasted no time in resuming their power-packed attack, much to the delight of a sellout crowd of 47,984.

“We’re capable of doing that still,” Bautista said. “The bulk of our lineup, the core of our team is still capable of hitting home runs. We’re going to have other options in the offense but we’re not going to shy away from swinging the bats well.”

Twins slugger Justin Morneau, playing for the first time since sustaining a season-ending concussion during a game in Toronto last July 7, went 0 for 4 and grounded into a double play.

“Spring training was about how I felt. Hopefully we’re past that and now it just matters if we win or lose,” Morneau said.

Romero (1-0) improved to 3-0 with a 2.48 ERA in four career starts against Minnesota. The left-hander allowed three runs, one earned, and six hits in 6 1-3 innings. He walked none and struck out seven.

Arencibia said Romero took advantage of an above-average changeup.

“He got strikeouts, swings and misses,” the rookie catcher said. “You have to really respect his fastball because he can get to the mid-90s and then he’s got that devastating changeup. It’s kind of the equalizer.”

Jason Frasor worked the eighth and Carlos Villanueva finished for the Blue Jays.

Three of Toronto’s four homers came off right-hander Carl Pavano (0-1), who gave up eight runs, seven earned, on six hits in four-plus innings. He walked two and struck out three.

Toronto jumped on Pavano with a four-run first. Rajai Davis and Yunel Escobar singled and Bautista walked before Lind was hit by a pitch. Aaron Hill and Edwin Encarnacion followed with sacrifice flies and the final run scored when Tsuyoshi Nishioka made an error on Travis Snider’s hard grounder to second.

The Blue Jays added two more in the fourth on Arencibia’s first homer, then tacked on four more in the fifth.

Bautista led off with a drive into the second deck in left-center and Lind chased Pavano with a towering shot that hit off the facing of the third deck in right.

Jeff Manship replaced Pavano but walked Snider and Juan Rivera before Arencibia tripled off the wall in center.

“We didn’t follow the plan very well pitching,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. “They swing the bats and if you keep throwing the ball out over the plate they’re going to kill you. We didn’t do a very good job of that tonight. We didn’t play good defense. It was just a bad night all the way around.”

Minnesota broke through against Romero in the seventh. Delmon Young scored on Encarnacion’s error at third, Alexi Casilla chased Romero with an RBI double and Denard Span added a run-scoring groundout.

Toronto added three more in the eighth against reliever Dusty Hughes. Arencibia homered, Lind hit an RBI single and John McDonald had a sacrifice fly.

Nishioka got his first major league hit, a ground single through the left side, off Romero in the sixth.

NOTES: Hill, who missed most of spring training with a right quadriceps injury, left the game after striking out in the seventh and was replaced by McDonald. … Toronto announced it will not pick up the maximum three option years on Hill’s contract. The team can still pick up one or two option years at the end of the season. … The Blue Jays held a pregame ceremony to honor Hall of Fame inductees Roberto Alomar and Pat Gillick, who were joined on stage by Twins Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven.