Grand slam dooms Twins
Published 7:47 am Thursday, August 6, 2015
TORONTO — Twins manager Paul Molitor won a World Series with the Blue Jays and has plenty of fond memories of Toronto.
He’s not adding any new ones on his latest visit to Canada.
Jose Bautista hit a grand slam, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson also homered and the Blue Jays beat Minnesota 9-7 on Wednesday night for their fourth straight win.
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The slumping Twins have lost four in a row and are 5-13 since the All-Star break.
“I think we’re all frustrated,” Molitor said. “We see what’s happening and the fact that we’re having trouble winning games.”
Minnesota has lost 22 of its past 30 games north of the border. The Blue Jays will try Thursday to sweep the four-game series between wild-card contenders.
“They’ve taken it to us for three days,” Molitor said. “Hopefully, we can try to find a way to win a game before we get out of town.”
Molitor was World Series MVP in 1993 when Toronto beat Philadelphia for its second straight championship. The Blue Jays have not reached the playoffs since, but currently hold the second AL wild-card spot.
Toronto has homered in 17 of 18 games since the break, with 10 multihomer games in that span.
“We went out there today and we did what we do best,” Bautista said.
Miguel Sano homered and had three RBIs for the Twins, who had been held to one run in four of their previous five.
Sano hit an RBI single and Trevor Plouffe doubled home two runs as the Twins jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first against Drew Hutchison (10-2).
Toronto answered in the bottom half against right-hander Tyler Duffey (0-1), who was making his major league debut. Troy Tulowitzki walked and Donaldson hit his 29th homer, tying a career high.
Donaldson has homered in three straight games and six of the past 10. He has a 23-game hitting streak against Minnesota, the longest active streak by any player against a single opponent.
Bautista made it 6-3 in the second with his fifth career grand slam and 24th home run of the season.
The slam gave Toronto its 38th four-run inning of the season, more than any other team.
“Our offense was on fire,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
Duffey allowed only two home runs in 132 minor league innings at Double-A and Triple-A this season, but matched that total in two innings against a powerful Blue Jays lineup.
“I tried to make stuff too good instead of just doing what I’ve been doing,” Duffey said. “It came back to bite me a couple of times.”
Duffey allowed six runs and five hits in two innings. The Twins will decide Thursday whether to give him another start.
Encarnacion made it 9-3 with a three-run drive off reliever J.R. Graham in the fourth, his 20th.
Joe Mauer hit a two-run single in the fifth and Sano followed with a two-run homer, his fifth, cutting it to 9-7.
“You applaud the guys staying with the game through nine innings,” Molitor said, “but you’ve got to deal with the fact that you came up short again.”
Hutchison gave up seven runs, three of them earned, in five innings. He has allowed an AL-high 81 runs and hasn’t reached the seventh inning since June 6 against Houston.
Liam Hendriks, Brett Cecil and Mark Lowe all worked one inning of relief before LaTroy Hawkins finished for his third save.
SAVING THE DAY
Hawkins became the 13th pitcher to record a save against all 30 teams, completing the achievement against the team that drafted him in 1991. At 42, he is the oldest pitcher in Blue Jays history to record a save.
Molitor tweaked his lineup, moving Aaron Hicks into the leadoff spot and dropping Brian Dozier to second.
Twins: OF Byron Buxton (left thumb) could begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester this Friday, manager Paul Molitor said.
Blue Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman (right knee) is scheduled to throw off a mound next Wednesday and, if all goes well, could begin a minor league rehab assignment Aug. 21.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (8-8, 3.37 ERA) is winless in his past three outings but 1-0 with a 0.66 ERA in two career starts against the Blue Jays.
Blue Jays: LHP Mark Buehrle (11-5, 3.32 ERA) looks for his first win in three starts when he faces the Twins. He pitched a complete game to win at Minnesota on May 29.