MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Adam Lind has shown the Toronto Blue Jays what he can do for the last eight seasons.
With the team already looking ahead to next year thanks to a disappointing record, Lind may be sending general manager Alex Anthopolous a reminder as he prepares for an offseason of tough decisions.
Lind hit a pair of three-run homers as the Blue Jays topped the Minnesota Twins 11-2 on Saturday, his second multi-homer game this season and 10th of his career. He’s hit three home runs his last four games and has 19 this season to go with a .282 batting average — his best since 2009.
“Adam’s always been a good player for this organization,” manager John Gibbons said. “I don’t know how the team will stack up next year. But I don’t think he needs to audition. He’s proven himself over time.”
His first homer highlighted a five-run first inning — Toronto’s second five-run inning in two games — and the second shot capped the scoring in the eighth.
Lind has team options on his contract the next three seasons, but with a host of young outfielders potentially shifting Melky Cabrera to full-time DH duties in 2014 and Edwin Encarnacion entrenched at first base, Lind could be squeezed out.
“That’s kind of a big problem,” Lind said. “But it’s a good one to have.”
Lind’s other multi-homer game this season, Aug. 17 at Tampa Bay, also came in support of J.A. Happ, who won for the first time since then and snapped a three-game losing streak.
Happ (4-5), who entered the game with a 7.71 ERA in his last three outings, allowed an unearned run on five hits while striking out four. The left-hander, who suffered a fractured skull and sprained knee on May 7 when he was hit in the head by line drive, hadn’t pitched past the fifth inning in back-to-back starts.
But Happ faced just two over the minimum through the first three innings before Brett Lawrie’s throwing error in the fourth led to the unearned run. He walked two of the four batters he faced in the sixth before giving way to Neil Wagner, who struck out Chris Colabello to end the threat.
“You want to finish strong, you want to remind these guys what you can do and prove to yourself what you can do,” Happ said. “Obviously it’s kind of showing I think. Hope to continue the way we’ve been playing.”
Happ’s 5 2-3 innings pitched were his most since he worked seven against Oakland on Aug. 7. He’s only made it through six innings in three of his 14 starts this season.
But it was enough for the Blue Jays, who jumped on Twins starter Kevin Correia (9-11) early.
After Jose Reyes flew out to the warning track to start the game, Toronto connected on six consecutive hits — including back-to-back homers from Lind and Lawrie. But Correia settled down from there, allowing just two hits in the next five innings.
Correia was 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA in his previous two starts, but entered 1-2 with a 6.88 ERA in three career starts against the Blue Jays — including the Twins’ 4-0 loss to Toronto on July 5.
Lind’s six RBI were his most since a career-high eight at Texas on Aug. 31, 2009, and the most by a Blue Jays player since J.P. Arencibia drove in six against the Yankees on May 18, 2012.
“He’s got one of the prettiest swings you can find in baseball,” Gibbons said. “When he gets hot, he gets hot. He’s starting to do that now.”
Lawrie finished with three hits for Toronto. He’s hitting .307 with six homers and 27 RBIs since the All Star break. Munenori Kawasaki was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Oswaldo Arcia and Josmil Pinto drove in Minnesota’s only runs. The Twins started the eighth inning with three singles and a walk, but Steve Delabar relieved Kyle Drabek and retired the next three batters to keep Minnesota from getting any closer.
The Twins have lost nine straight home games for the first time since April 27-May 23, 2011.
The Blue Jays have won nine of their last 12 overall and 34 of their previous 44 against Minnesota.
NOTES: Twins C Joe Mauer took group batting practice Saturday for the first time as he continues to make progress from a concussion he suffered Aug. 19. There still is no timetable for his return. … Toronto OF Moises Sierra left the game with lower back tightness after striking out to end the third inning. Rajai Davis replaced him in right field. … Esmil Rogers (4-7, 4.76 ERA) will try to win back-to-back starts for the first time since June 13 and 18 as he takes the mound for Toronto on Sunday. The Twins will counter with rookie Matt Albers (2-2, 3.96), who has allowed five earned runs in three of his last four starts after starting his career with 8 1-3 shutout innings and a shutout.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)