Twins Waste Blackburn’s Start, Lose 7th Straight
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – After retiring 17 straight batters, Nick Blackburn looked as if he would cruise to his third win of the season, and the Minnesota Twins looked ready to snap their six-game skid.
Then Yunel Escobar hit an infield single with two outs in the eighth inning. Then Corey Patterson tripled to tie it. A couple innings later, it all came apart in a six-run 11th inning kicked off by Jose Bautista’s homer and the Blue Jays beat the Twins 9-3 Saturday.
“I take that upon myself,” Gardenhire said of the Patterson’s tying triple. “I had a chance to make a move and I didn’t make one.”
Blackburn is the only Minnesota starter to last longer than 5 1-3 innings in the Twins’ last eight games. Minnesota (12-25) has tied its longest losing streak since September 2007.
“You can’t get 20 games below .500 and expect to just all of a sudden come back,” Justin Morneau said. “This game’s not easy … it’s not something you can just turn around like that.”
Bautista’s two-run shot off reliever Jim Hoey broke a 3-all tie. Hoey walked the next two batters and J.P. Arencibia followed with a double off Jose Mijares to help send the Twins to their seventh straight loss.
Bautista’s homer was his major league-leading 13th of the season and came after Glen Perkins (0-1) gave up a leadoff single to Patterson.
Bautista entered the game leading baseball in walks (34), slugging percentage (.798) and on-base percentage (.525). He has reached base safely in 30 of 31 games, including 20 straight.
“He’s hitting home runs, has a high a high average, RBI, on-base percentage,” Patterson said. “Typically guys that hit a lot of homers are going to be lacking in something as far as their average goes.”
Former Twins closer Jon Rauch (2-2) pitched two scoreless innings.
The Twins were 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position, and are 6 for 40 in the last four games.
“That kind of spoils what would’ve been a pretty good outing,” Blackburn said. “I still feel pretty good. I made some pretty good pitches and all that stuff, but the fact that it ended that way is still pretty frustrating.”
Minnesota had a chance to win in the ninth after Justin Morneau doubled to center, but Delmon Young struck out for the third time and Michael Cuddyer, who homered earlier, popped out to second to send the game to extra innings.
“There was a lot of big opportunities. We were one big hit away. That’s it. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us,” Morneau said.
Arencibia hit his sixth homer of the season, a towering solo shot to left in the second inning to make it 2-2.
Notes: A moment of silence was held for New York Rangers defenseman Derek Boogaard before the game. Boogaard, a popular member of the Minnesota Wild for five seasons, was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment Friday. … Blue Jays 1B Adam Lind (back) missed his sixth straight game a day after being scratched from the lineup. The team is hopeful Lind can be available Monday. “I don’t really have another way to categorize the time frame other than ‘not right now,”‘ Toronto manager John Farrell said. … Twins slugger Jim Thome continues to make progress in his recovery from a left oblique strain. Manager Ron Gardenhire said Thome — currently on a rehab assignment at the team’s minor league facilities in Fort Myers, Fla. — could potentially rejoin the Twins during their interleague series at Arizona next weekend. … Asked about the wrap on his foot before the game, Gardenhire said: “My Achilles’ is a little sore, too many trips to the mound.”
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