MINNEAPOLIS -- Josh Donaldson clubbed a pair of homers to back a gem by Marco Estrada, as the Blue Jays pushed past the Twins, 7-2, on Saturday night at Target Field. Minnesota has lost back-to-back games to Toronto and dropped its lead for the second American League Wild Card spot
MINNEAPOLIS -- Josh Donaldson clubbed a pair of homers to back a gem by Marco Estrada, as the Blue Jays pushed past the Twins, 7-2, on Saturday night at Target Field. Minnesota has lost back-to-back games to Toronto and dropped its lead for the second American League Wild Card spot to one game over the Angels, who beat the Rangers.
Estrada allowed two runs over a season-high eight innings, giving up three hits with four strikeouts and one walk. Eddie Rosario recorded the first hit off Estrada with a leadoff home run in the fifth, while Eduardo Escobar crushed solo shot in the eighth. The Twins have homered in 15 straight games, which is one shy of the club's longest streak.
"Vintage Estrada, really," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "It's really a tough lineup to pitch to, it really is, but he did what he normally does."
Donaldson, who tallied four hits, supported Estrada's efforts with a first-inning homer off Minnesota left-hander Adalberto Mejia, who took the loss. In his first start since returning from the disabled list, Mejia gave up three runs on five hits across three-plus frames. Donaldson notched the 14th multi-homer game of his career and fourth this season with a solo homer in the ninth.
"I thought Mejia's stuff was good. Some of the selection and location might have been off a bit," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He had to pay the price for that."
Toronto's Justin Smoak delivered an RBI double in the fourth and Kendrys Morales plated two runs with a pair of singles. Jose Bautista snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a trio of hits and drove in a run.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Donaldson's dinger: Donaldson crushed a chest-high, first-pitch fastball from Mejia in the opening frame. According to Statcast™, Donaldson's 26th home run went a projected 447 feet with an exit velocity of 107.9 mph. It was Donaldson's second-longest blast of the season and his sixth-longest since Statcast™ started tracking at the start of 2015. It was also the highest pitch Donaldson has homered off of, with a height of 3.71 feet off the ground.
"I've been seeing a lot of fastballs up in the zone pretty much all season long," Donaldson said. "There's times when I'm swinging and missing at it, and there's times when I'm connecting with it. The times that I connect with it, good things normally happen for me." More >
Jays chase Mejia: Following Donaldson's first-inning homer, Mejia retired the next eight batters he faced and appeared to be in control. It was Donaldson who broke the streak, with a leadoff single in the top of the fourth. Toronto then strung together three consecutive hits, including an RBI double by Smoak and an RBI single from Morales, to end Mejia's night. All four hits off Mejia in the fourth were well struck, as they each had an exit velocity of at least 102.7 mph, per Statcast™. More >
"I didn't think my pitches would be so good, being a month and a half out of the big leagues," Mejia said. "But I felt really good."
Blue Jays: Right-hander Joe Biagini (3-10, 5.07 ERA) will start Sunday's finale against Minnesota at 2:10 p.m. ET. Biagini is making his fifth straight start since returning to the rotation after a stint in the bullpen. He's 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA in his four previous outings.
Twins: Right-hander Kyle Gibson (10-10, 4.97 ERA) will start the finale at 1:10 p.m. CT. Gibson faced the Blue Jays on Aug. 27, when he allowed two runs and struck out seven in 6 2/3 innings. Gibson is 2-1 with a 4.45 ERA in five career starts against Toronto.
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Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.
*Tyler Mason * is a contributor to MLB.com based in Minneapolis and covered the Blue Jays on Saturday.