TORONTO (AP) — Bartolo Colon and Byron Buxton were so good the Minnesota Twins finally got a win in Canada.
Colon pitched 6 2/3 innings for his second straight victory, Buxton had three hits and two RBIs and the Twins beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-1 on Friday night.
“It was an all-round good game from everybody,” Buxton said. “Everybody had some type of contribution.”
Joe Mauer had three hits and scored twice as Minnesota snapped a seven-game losing streak north of the border. The Twins, who began the day a half-game ahead of Kansas City and Los Angeles for the second AL wild card, had not won in Toronto since June 11, 2014.
Minnesota improved to a major league-best 14-6 since Aug. 6.
Justin Smoak hit his 35th homer for Toronto, but the Blue Jays lost for the sixth time in seven games. Smoak finished with three hits and a walk.
Buxton opened the scoring with an RBI bunt single in the third, and Jorge Polanco followed with a two-out, two-run double.
Smoak connected in the bottom half but Minnesota answered in the fourth when Mitch Garver hit a leadoff triple and scored on Max Kepler’s sacrifice fly. Eduardo Escobar made it 5-1 with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Buxton made the defensive play of the game in the eighth. Buxton’s diving catch on the warning track retired Rob Refsnyder and stranded runners at first and second.
“A lot guys can play that position but he’s special,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “The game is still in the balance if it gets over his head there. He shaded him that way but got an outstanding jump and closed on it. Just sheer athleticism.”
The speedy outfielder capped his night with an RBI single off T.J. House in the ninth. His previous two hits were both bunts.
“One of my favorite things is bunt hits,” Molitor said.
Colon (6-10) allowed nine hits and walked one while improving to 4-1 in August.
“The old man got us, that’s for sure,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He just picked the plate apart.”
On the first day of Players Weekend, the 44-year-old Colon pitched in a jersey with the name “Morales” on the back. It was a tribute to his mother Adriana Morales, who died in 2014.
“I talked to my dad a few days back and told him I was going to wear Morales on my back and he got a little mad,” Colon said through a translator. “I told him ‘Hey, don’t worry, it’s just one game.'”
Since hitting five home runs in Wednesday’s 7-6 win at Tampa Bay, Toronto has scored just one run in two games. The Blue Jays stranded 11 in the series opener against Minnesota.
J.A. Happ (6-10) allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings, dropping to 1-4 with a 6.07 ERA in six career games against the Twins.
“I thought his command was off a little bit,” Gibbons said. “The big double really hurt us.”
FLIP THE SWITCH
Smoak’s 35th homer broke a tie with Jose Cruz Jr. for the most by a switch hitter in Blue Jays history. Smoak’s total is the highest by any switch hitter since Mark Teixeira hit 39 for the Yankees in 2011.
Twins right-hander Trevor Hildenberger, who is wearing “Hildy” on his Players Weekend jersey, tweeted Friday that he was excited “to finally have a name on the back that doesn’t stretch armpit to armpit.”
Twins: INF Miguel Sano (left shin) is making slow progress but is unlikely to be ready when eligible to come off the 10-day DL next Tuesday, Molitor said. Sano has been out since Aug. 19.
Blue Jays right-hander Nick Tepesch was reinstated from the paternity list and optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.
Twins: RHP Dillon Gee (1-0, 2.84 ERA) allowed one run in six innings to beat the White Sox in his previous start, his first with Minnesota.
Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (5-8, 5.07 ERA) is 1-6 with a 6.78 ERA in 15 starts since June 1.
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