TORONTO (AP) — Kevin Correia felt he’d been burned by bad fortune too many times this season. His luck changed on a pivotal play against the Blue Jays.
Brian Dozier hit a two-run home run, Correia won for the first time in four starts and the Minnesota Twins beat Toronto 4-0 on Tuesday night.
Correia preserved a 2-0 Twins lead with a no-look, backhanded stop on a bases-loaded grounder by Jose Reyes in the second.
“That was huge,” Correia said. “That would probably have been two runs if I don’t make that play.”
Newly signed slugger Kendrys Morales had two hits and scored a run as the Twins avoided falling a season-worst five games below .500.
The Blue Jays were shut out for the third time in four games.
For the second straight game, the Twins took a 2-0 lead before making an out. Danny Santana drew a leadoff walk and Dozier followed with his team-leading 14th home run.
“They make a mistake and he jumps on it and it’s been going a long ways for him,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Santana and Dozier hit back-to-back homers in the first inning Monday.
Correia (3-7) allowed six hits, walked one and struck out one in six innings. It was his first scoreless outing since Aug. 27, 2013, with seven innings against Kansas City.
The Twins doubled their lead and chased Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ (5-3) in the fourth. Morales singled, Oswaldo Arcia walked and Eduardo Nunez singled, but Happ struck out Kurt Suzuki and Eduardo Escobar. Santana followed with an infield single to third, and a second run scored on Juan Francisco’s errant throw to first.
Chad Jenkins came on and got Dozier to ground out.
Correia came in 1-4 in his past six starts, and 1-3 with a 7.04 ERA in four career starts against Toronto, but settled down after allowing four hits in the first two innings. The right-hander got Melky Cabrera to ground out to end the second, leaving the bases loaded, starting a stretch of 12 consecutive outs.
“It looked like he was kind of searching to find it,” Gardenhire said, “but once it got going he got his confidence, started making pitches. Great performance by him.”
Cabrera and Jose Bautista hit back-to-back singles in the first, but Correia got Edwin Encarnacion to fly out, then got Adam Lind to ground out.
Toronto used two singles and a walk to load the bases with one out in the second, but Correia snared Reyes’ grounder, throwing home for the second out, before retiring Cabrera to keep the Blue Jays scoreless.
“Outstanding, wasn’t it?” catcher Kurt Suzuki said of the backhanded snag. “That was pretty cool. That was a big play for us. Big play.”
Correia left after Dioner Navarro’s leadoff single in the seventh. After Brian Duensing got two outs, Reyes singled to put runners at first and second, but Duensing escaped when Cabrera lined out to third.
Jared Burton pitched the eighth and Glen Perkins finished.
Happ (5-3) lost for the second time in three starts, allowing four runs, three earned, and six hits in 3 2-3 innings. He walked three and struck out three.
“He was getting ahead but he just couldn’t put anybody away,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He had to work way too hard tonight.”
NOTES: Minnesota RH Mike Pelfrey underwent surgery Tuesday to relieve a nerve problem in his surgically repaired elbow and will miss at least two months. Pelfrey, who had ligament replace surgery in 2012, has been on the DL since May 2 with a strained left groin. … Blue Jays RH Sergio Santos (elbow) allowed three runs in one inning in his first rehab appearance at Double-A New Hampshire. … Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe got the day off, only the second time this season he has not played. Nunez started at third. … Twins OF Sam Fuld (concussion) went 1 for 3 in a rehab game at Double-A New Britain, hitting a leadoff home run in the first. … Minnesota OF Aaron Hicks (right shoulder) is still sore and could be sent home for tests if his condition does not improve. … Twins RH Phil Hughes (6-2) faces Blue Jays RH Marcus Stroman (2-0) in Wednesday’s series finale, a 12:37 ET start.
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