Jays Offence Ignites in 15-8 Win Over Twins
TORONTO — Justin Smoak broke out of a slump with five runs-batted in, Russell Martin also drove in five and Josh Donaldson hit his 30th homer of the season as the Toronto Blue Jays’ offence ignited for a 15-8 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday.
Smoak snapped an 0-for-29 streak with runners in scoring position with a three-run blast in the second inning, then added a run-scoring base hit in the third as the Blue Jays (72-56) moved a game ahead of Boston for the AL East lead and ended a two-game slide. The first baseman picked up his fifth RBI in the seventh.
Martin homered and added a bases-clearing double, Donaldson had three RBI’s in total, and Darwin Barney, who moved up in the lineup in place of an ill Kevin Pillar, had a double, a single and a solo homer.
Kurt Suzuki had three RBIs for the Twins (49-79), Trevor Plouffe and Eddie Rosario each drove in a pair and Max Kepler had a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Francisco Liriano (7-12), facing the team he spent his first seven seasons with, allowed four runs — three earned — over five innings. He also struck out seven and walked four while throwing just 59 of his 102 pitches for strikes.
Pat Dean (1-4) lasted just three innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and a walk.
The Blue Jays scored five runs in the second, four in the sixth and five more in the seventh.
Plouffe gave the Twins an early 1-0 lead in the first inning with a two-out solo shot.
Smoak put the Blue Jays on the board with his three-run homer off Dean — his first hit with runners in scoring position since June 18 — in the bottom of the second, and Donaldson added to the barrage with a two-run homer three batters later.
Plouffe hit a sacrifice fly in the third to cut into Toronto’s lead, but Smoak responded with his run-scoring single in the bottom of the frame.
Liriano ran into trouble in the fourth, walking two of the first three batters of the inning. Both came in to score on a Suzuki double to cut the Twins’ deficit to 6-4.
Rosario hit a sac fly in the sixth, but Barney restored the two-run lead with a solo homer off Canadian Andrew Albers in the bottom of the inning. Martin made it a 10-5 game with his double off Pat Light later in the sixth.
Smoak and Donaldson hit RBI singles in the five-run seventh, Jose Bautista scored on a force out from Edwin Encarnacion, and Martin hit a two-run blast for a 15-5 lead.
Minnesota added two runs in the eighth and one in the ninth.