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Lind powers Toronto to fourth straight series win

First baseman's recent hot streak making GM's 2014 decision difficult

MINNEAPOLIS -- One of the toughest decisions Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos will face this offseason is what should be done with Adam Lind.

Toronto has a club option on Lind's contract for next season worth $7 million with a $2-million buyout. The Blue Jays aren't expected to have a lot of money to spend when the current season comes to an end, so it remains entirely possible that Anthopoulos will look to allocate those funds elsewhere.

Lind is doing everything he can to ensure that won't happen, though, as his hot streak continued on Saturday night with a pair of three-run homers in the Blue Jays' lopsided 11-2 victory over the Twins at Target Field.

"I'm definitely feeling better at the plate, but that's just how this game goes," Lind said. "Home runs tend to come in bunches, and I'm a perfect example of that.

"[I'm] just trying to feel as relaxed as I can before the pitcher begins his delivery -- keep my hands free and let them do what they can."

Lind is currently on one of his best stretches this season. He is batting .333 with two doubles, five home runs and 13 RBIs dating back to Aug. 15. Three of those home runs have come in the past four games and his 44 extra-base hits on the year are the most he's had since 2010 (58).

Anthopoulos repeatedly has said that the Blue Jays won't make final determinations on players with options until the end of the season. If that's true, then Lind still has a few more weeks to help his cause and guarantee a lucrative contract for next year.

Saturday's game was another step in the right direction, as he hit a three-run homer off right-hander Kevin Correia in the first inning to put Toronto in front early. Lind also came through in the ninth with another shot, and while it didn't impact the final outcome, he is now just one away from reaching 20 homers for the fourth time in his career.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has seen a lot of Lind over the years. He was in charge of Toronto's dugout when Lind first broke into the league back in 2006, and they resumed their working relationship when Gibbons was brought back prior to the 2013 campaign.

As far as Gibbons is concerned, Lind doesn't have anything left to prove, and while the final decision will ultimately be made by Anthopoulos, the skipper thinks everyone knows what the veteran designated hitter is capable of producing.

"Adam's always been a good player for this organization," Gibbons said. "I don't know how the team is going to stack up next year. ... But he has been a productive player here. I don't think he needs to audition. He has proven himself over time."

Lind wasn't the only standout on offense for the Blue Jays Saturday night. Brett Lawrie had three hits -- including a solo homer -- while Munenori Kawasaki had a pair of hits and two RBIs. All nine members of the starting lineup reached base. The only starter without a hit was Edwin Encarnacion, but he had a pair of walks.

Correia was charged with five runs on seven hits and one walk over six innings. He eventually settled down, but the five-run first inning put the Twins into an early deficit that they were unable to overcome.

The Blue Jays have now scored 34 runs in just six games this month, and early leads have played a big part in the club winning four consecutive series for the first time this season.

"They jumped on pitches early," Correia said. "It was pretty quick. Usually, I can make adjustments, but they just caught me. There were a handful of guys I hadn't faced, and so it was kind of a guessing game early. They jumped on a few pitches and took advantage in the first."

Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ maintained the early lead by cruising through his first three innings. The veteran lefty hit a bit of a roadblock in the fourth, when he surrendered a pair of seeing-eye singles and Lawrie committed a throwing error at third base, which contributed to Minnesota's first run.

Happ continued on into the sixth inning, but he walked two, and Gibbons opted to make a move to the bullpen with two outs. Happ's line closed with just one unearned run on five hits, three walks and four strikeouts.

The game eventually got completely out of hand starting in the seventh inning when Toronto added a pair of runs. The Blue Jays tacked on another in the eighth, before Lind added his second homer to become the first Toronto player to reach six RBIs in one game since J.P. Arencibia had six vs. the Yankees on May 18, 2012.

"We had a great first inning," Happ said. "The gameplan was to come out and mix it up early and try to pound the strike zone. Having a lead like that definitely helps. [The lead] is something you don't think about a ton, but you're definitely more loose and more confident to throw those pitches."

Toronto will have an opportunity for its first three-game sweep since June 21-23 with a win in the series finale against Minnesota on Sunday afternoon.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB.
Read More: Toronto Blue Jays, Adam Lind, Moises Sierra, Brett Lawrie, J.A. Happ