MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Ricky Romero pitched 8 2-3 innings, Jose Bautista homered and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the somber Minnesota Twins 2-0 on Friday night.
The Twins learned earlier in the day that former star Harmon Killebrew was preparing for the final days of his life and no longer planned to fight his esophageal cancer.
Killebrew’s No. 3 jersey hung in the dugout, where it will stay for the remainder of the season. Video messages from Bert Blyleven, Tony Oliva and Justin Morneau were played on the big screen before the first pitch.
Romero took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Denard Span slapped a single past a diving John McDonald with two outs in the sixth to break up the no-hit bid.
Romero — who was the opposing pitcher in Justin Verlander’s no-hitter on May 7 — allowed four hits, struck out eight and walked three. He yelled into his glove after allowing a single to Delmon Young and getting pulled one out away from his second career shutout.
Frank Francisco came on and struck out Michael Cuddyer to notch his third save in four chances.
Rivera’s single in the seventh scored Corey Patterson from second base and finally put the Blue Jays on the board.
Bautista smashed his 12th home run in the eighth to make it 2-0. The slugger was 3 for 4 and has reached base in 29 of 30 games this season.
Toronto had no trouble getting on base against Twins starter Carl Pavano, but couldn’t capitalize with runs. The Blue Jays stranded 10 runners through six innings and forced Pavano to exit after 5 1-3 innings and 115 pitches.
Toronto stranded 14 runners for the game.
Alex Burnett (0-2) was the losing pitcher after relieving Pavano.
Not even the return of outfielder Delmon Young could spark the reeling Twins offense. Minnesota entered Friday with a .231 team batting average and just 17 home runs.
The Twins have the worst record in baseball and have lost six straight and 12 of their last 15.
Toronto starters had an 8.51 ERA in their last five games, but Romero had no problem shutting down the Twins. Span was the only baserunner to advance to third base.
Rivera was a late-addition to the lineup after Adam Lind was scratched. Lind has been out since May 7 with back soreness and was removed from the lineup after the soreness returned during pregame warmups.
The Blue Jays have won 10 of their last 12 against the Twins and four of their last five at Target Field.
NOTES: The Blue Jays announced the death of Mel Queen on Friday. Queen joined the Blue Jays staff in 1986 and served as farm director, minor league pitching instructor and pitching coach before being named player development senior adviser in 1998. Queen was pitching coach when Pat Hentgen and Roger Clemens won Cy Young awards with Toronto. Queen is also credited with developing Roy Halladay. … Tsuyoshi Nishioka had an X-ray on Thursday that showed healing in his broken left leg. He’s taking batting practice and doing agility drills at Minnesota’s minor league complex in Fort Myers, Fla. … Joe Mauer took batting practice with the Twins on Friday, another small step back in his recovery from bilateral leg weakness. … The Twins optioned OF Rene Tosoni to Triple-A Rochester to make room for Young.
(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)