Donaldson hits 2-run homer, Blue Jays hold off Twins

Published 4:27 pm Saturday, August 26, 2017

TORONTO — Josh Donaldson had three hits, including a two-run home run, Kendrys Morales added a solo shot and the Toronto Blue Jays withstood a late rally by Minnesota to beat the Twins 10-9 Saturday.

Max Kepler hit a grand slam and Eduardo Escobar had a two-run shot for the Twins, who entered with a half-game lead over Seattle for the second AL wild card. Kansas City and the Los Angeles Angels were 1½ games behind entering play Saturday.

Minnesota lost for the 11th time in 13 meetings with the Blue Jays. The Twins snapped a seven-game losing streak in Toronto on Friday with their majors-leading 14th win since Aug. 6.

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Donaldson, who was wearing the nickname “Bringer of Rain” on his jersey during Players Weekend, keyed a six-run fifth inning with his 23rd homer as the Blue Jays opened an 8-2 lead.

After Kepler cut it to 8-7 with a grand slam off Ryan Tepera in the eighth, Donaldson’s RBI double off John Curtiss in the bottom half gave Toronto a two-run cushion. Donaldson later scored on a wild pitch to make it 10-7.

The 2015 AL MVP, Donaldson went 3 for 5 with three RBIs and scored twice. He owns a .376 (50 for 133) career batting average in 35 games against Minnesota, with 15 doubles and 14 home runs.

Morales opened the scoring with a leadoff blast off Dillon Gee in the second.

Kepler’s grand slam was the second of his career. The first came July 10, 2016, at Texas.

Roberto Osuna pitched around Brian Dozier’s RBI single in the ninth to earn his 34th save in 42 chances. A second run scored on Joe Mauer’s double play grounder before Osuna ended it by retiring Jorge Polanco.

Marco Estrada (6-8) allowed three runs in six innings to win for just the second time in 16 starts since May 27.

Gee (1-1) took the loss in his second start with the Twins, allowing four runs and seven hits in four-plus innings.


Twins: C Jason Castro (concussion) is feeling better and may be able to return on schedule on Aug. 31, manager Paul Molitor said. Castro took three foul balls off his face mask in Wednesday night’s loss to the Chicago White Sox, leaving after five innings.

Blue Jays: 2B Devon Travis (left knee) remained in Florida following a series at Tampa Bay this week to continue his rehab at Toronto’s spring training facility in nearby Dunedin. Travis, who has been out since June 4, had battled minor soreness, manager John Gibbons said. … RHP Aaron Sanchez (blister) played catch Saturday and could throw off a mound soon, Gibbons said.


Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (7-10, 5.76) allowed one run in seven innings to beat the White Sox in his previous outing, snapping a three-start winless streak.

Blue Jays: RHP Joe Biagini is expected to be promoted from Triple-A Buffalo to face the Twins on Sunday. After three winless starts at Buffalo, Biagini allowed two runs in seven innings to beat Pawtucket last Tuesday.