Big Bats Helps Blue Jays Win Series From Twins
TORONTO (AP) _ Minnesota’s Scott Baker learned it’s no fun to face the heavy-hitting Blue Jays when you have a sore elbow.
Jose Bautista hit one of Toronto’s five homers and Brett Cecil snapped a four-start winless skid, leading the Blue Jays to an 8-1 win over the Twins on Thursday night.
Fred Lewis, Adam Lind, Jose Molina and Lyle Overbay also went deep for the Blue Jays, who hit 10 homers in the three game series and leads the majors with 130.
“If it goes from here to the end of September, we’re going to have a lot of fun,” Toronto manager Cito Gaston said.
Bautista leads the majors with 23 homers and eight Blue Jays have at least 10 home runs before the All-Star break, a club first.
“We didn’t do too much and they just kept hitting it in the seats,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire “We know they’re a home run hitting team and you’ve got to make pitches. We didn’t make very many of them tonight.”
Two of the homers and five of the runs came off the right-handed Baker, who has been pitching with inflammation in his elbow. He’s set to have an injection in his arm over the All-Star break and could get extra rest when the regular season resumes.
“It’s tough getting loose,” Baker (7-8) said. “Early in the game and the first few pitches of each inning, that’s the toughest thing.”
Baker, who allowed leadoff homers to Lewis in the first and Lind in the second, said an MRI performed during Minnesota’s last homestand revealed no major damage.
“There’s nothing structurally wrong,” Baker said. It’s just inflammation. I think a couple of days of rest should take care of it.”
Baker is 1-6 with a 6.66 ERA in nine road starts. His last win away from home was April 10 against the White Sox.
The left-handed Cecil (8-5) won for the first time since June 10 at Tampa Bay, allowing one run and four hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out two.
Cecil, who had lost three of his past four outings, said the key was keeping his pitches down.
“It was just a matter of going out there and repeating my delivery, figuring out how to get the ball down after it’s been up so long,” Cecil said. “The ball was just flat. I didn’t have downward tilt on it. Now I feel like I’m back where I need to be.”
Casey Janssen worked the eighth and David Purcey pitched the ninth for the Blue Jays, who won consecutive games for the first time since June 18 and 19 against San Francisco.
Third-place Minnesota lost for the 11th time in 16 games ahead of a crucial three-game series at first-place Detroit that begins Friday.
“We’ll see what we’re made of over the weekend,” Gardenhire said.
Lewis led off the bottom of the first with a homer to right, his fifth. It’s the third time this season Lewis has hit a leadoff home run.
Toronto added four more in the second, which began when Lind drove one off the facing of the second deck in right, his 11th. Singles by Aaron Hill, Edwin Encarnacion and Molina loaded the bases before Alex Gonzalez hit a two-out double to the wall in right-center, scoring all three runners.
Michael Cuddyer provided Minnesota’s run with a two-out homer to left in the fourth, his eighth.
Baker allowed seven hits, walked none and struck out four.
Alex Burnett took over in the seventh, but Overbay whacked the right-hander’s first pitch over the wall in center for his 10th home run. One out later, Molina drilled his first homer to left.
Bautista capped the barrage with a leadoff drive to left against Ron Mahay in the eighth, his second homer in two days. Bautista hit a two-run, inside-the-park homer Wednesday.
NOTES: Twins 1B Justin Morneau is day to day with a “mild concussion” after he was accidentally kneed in the head Wednesday, Gardenhire said. Cuddyer started at first Thursday. Morneau could play Friday at Detroit. … Toronto RHP Shaun Marcum, out since July 2 with a sore elbow, is playing long toss and remains on pace to return after the All-Star break, manager Cito Gaston said. … Hill returned to the lineup after missing three games with flulike symptoms.