Twins bats come alive in rout of Jays
MINNEAPOLIS — Kyle Gibson appeared headed for a short outing, and the Minnesota Twins’ playoff outlook looked as shaky as their starting pitcher.
Minnesota’s offense boosted both with a big rally.
Eddie Rosario homered twice, Joe Mauer hit a grand slam and the Twins overcame a five-run deficit to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 13-7 Sunday and maintain control for the second AL wild card.
Minnesota trailed 5-0 in the second inning after Josh Donaldson’s second homer. Rosario and Byron Buxton hit consecutive homers to start the rally as the Twins burst ahead with a seven-run bottom half that included Jorge Polanco’s tie-breaking RBI grounder.
“You never feel like your offense is going to put up 13 runs,” Gibson said. “But that inning kind of had that kind of a feel. You can see early on when the guys have a lot of confidence. Rosie hits that homer and Buck hit that homer. They both walk by me and say, ‘Hey, we got you. Let’s go.’”
Minnesota pulled away with six runs in the fifth against reliever Chris Rowley. The Twins reopened a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels for the second AL wild card and closed within four games of the Yankees heading into a three-game series at New York that starts today.
Gibson (11-10) allowed five runs, three hits and five walks in six innings while tying a season high with eight strikeouts to help the Twins gain a four-game split.
Minnesota manager Paul Molitor nearly took out Gibson early.
“There was one pitch away a couple of times,” Molitor said. “It’s hard to explain a beginning like that. Of all the things he’s done, this one’s, in some ways, maybe a little more impressive to give us six innings after that start.”
Joe Biagini (3-11) gave up six runs — four earned — and five hits in 1 1/3 innings for Toronto. He is 0-1 with a 15.00 ERA in two starts and two relief appearances against the Twins.
Rosario also homered in the fifth for his fourth career multihomer game and went deep five times during the homestand. Mauer hit his fourth slam, his first since Sept. 1, 2012, at Kansas City and his first ever at home.
Minnesota tied a franchise record by homering for the 16th consecutive game and has a major league-high 74 since Aug. 8.
JAYS 7, TWINS 2
Marco Estrada pitched eight efficient innings, Donaldson homered twice among his four hits and Toronto topped the Twins.
The Twins’ loss clinched the AL Central for Cleveland. Estrada (9-8) gave up two runs.
Aside from solo home runs by Eddie Rosario and Eduardo Escobar, the Twins didn’t get a runner in scoring position until Joe Mauer’s leadoff double in the ninth, when the game was already well out of reach.
Donaldson gave the Blue Jays a lead in the first by sending a first-pitch shot off Adalberto Mejia (4-6) into the second deck in left-center.
Twins: RHP Ervin Santana (15-7, 3.35) starts for the Twins. New York goes with LHP Jaime Garcia (5-9, 4.35), who started one game for Minnesota this season after he was acquired from Atlanta and then was dealt to New York