MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Too many walks did in the Toronto Blue Jays.
Darin Mastroianni got his first major league hit and drove in three runs to help the Minnesota Twins overcome Jose Bautista’s two homers in a 7-6 victory over Toronto on Friday night.
Of the nine Minnesota hitters who walked, five eventually scored.
“A high number of walks overall and anytime you combine those base on balls with some hits, you’re causing some issues for us to work out of,” Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.
Bautista hit two solo homers, raising his total at spacious Target Field to nine in nine career games. Minnesota stars Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau have hit seven home runs in 194 games at the 3-year-old ballpark.
Eric Thames and Edwin Encarnacion also homered for Toronto, which lost for just the second time in nine games at Target Field.
With the potential tying run on third and Matt Capps on the mound in the ninth, Bautista popped up to third base to end the game.
It was Capps’ sixth save in six chances.
“It’s bad news, we lost. I’m not going to make this game about me or my results,” said Bautista, who slammed his bat on the ground while trotting to first after popping up in the ninth. “Bottom line, we came out here to try to win a game and we didn’t. We’re not going to kill ourselves over it, it’s just one game.”
Kyle Drabek (2-4) was removed after 4 1-3 innings and 109 pitches — only 61 for strikes. He’s lost four consecutive starts for the first time in his career.
Drabek’s short outing also broke a 34-game streak of Toronto starters lasting at least five innings. The run dated to last season and was the longest active streak of its kind in the majors.
The right-hander said his biggest problem was his two-seam fastball, but he thought he got better after the first inning.
“It’s not that disappointing,” Drabek said. “I think I had just one bad inning that got my pitch count up there. I’m just disappointed with the first.”
Ryan Doumit added two RBIs and Denard Span had two hits and scored twice in a game that lasted 3 hours, 17 minutes, after rain delayed the first pitch for 1 hour, 51 minutes. Nick Blackburn snapped a 13-start winless streak.
Mastroianni clapped his hands and yelled to himself after both of his hits. It was a rare display of excitement and jubilation in what has been a miserable season for the Twins, baseball’s worst team so far.
“Just to be in the books that you got a hit in the big leagues, for it to be such an important one is something I can’t imagine,” said Mastroianni, who played one game with Toronto last season. “The second one was just as big as the first one.”
Mastroianni’s single in the fifth scored Josh Willingham and Doumit to give the Twinsa 6-2 lead. Bautista led off the sixth with his second home run of the night.
“We’ve seen it continue to come on this trip. It started in Anaheim with the Angels,” Farrell said. “He feels very comfortable in this ballpark, obviously, by the number of home runs he’s hit. … He’s seeing the ball much better now.”
Thames followed two batters later with a two-run shot that landed in front of the black batter’s eye in center field.
After Mastroianni drove in an insurance run in the seventh with a single to left, Encarnacion went deep off reliever Glen Perkins to cut it to 7-6.
Perkins then allowed two singles, but got Colby Rasmus to ground into a double play and pinch-hitter Ben Francisco to fly out. Willingham, not known for his defense, made a diving catch on Francisco’s blooper to left field.
Blackburn (1-4) was pulled after Thames’ home run, but left with a lead for the first time this season.
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