TORONTO -- Marco Estrada kept the Twins in check long enough for the Blue Jays to break through with six runs in the fifth inning on Saturday, which gave them enough room to hold off a late surge for the 10-9 win at Rogers Centre."Obviously the offense showed up today
TORONTO -- Marco Estrada kept the Twins in check long enough for the Blue Jays to break through with six runs in the fifth inning on Saturday, which gave them enough room to hold off a late surge for the 10-9 win at Rogers Centre.
"Obviously the offense showed up today and scored a bunch of runs," Estrada said. "We played a good game today. It almost fell apart, but I'm glad we pulled it off."
"Estradabien" cruised through three hitless innings to open the game, and forced plenty of weak contact through the air, typically a sign that his fastball and changeup combination is working. Minnesota got to him late, but Estrada still gave the Blue Jays six innings of three-run ball with five hits allowed and five strikeouts.
"I thought he was great," manager John Gibbons said after the game. "I thought he threw the ball really well. He got off to a real good start. He got through that sixth inning when they made a run at him there, but I think he was sitting in between innings for a pretty long time. But he got through it."
The Twins mounted a late charge in the eighth and nine innings, cutting the lead to one on Max Kepler's grand slam. Twins reliever John Curtiss allowed two runs in the bottom of the eighth on a bloop double by Josh Donaldson and a wild pitch, extending Toronto's lead to three runs.
In the ninth, Minnesota cut the Blue Jays' lead to one on a single from James Dozier and a groundout by Joe Mauer, but Roberto Osuna, aka "No Panic", retired Jorge Polanco to end the game.
With the win, the Blue Jays move within five games of the Twins in the American League Wild Card race and will have an opportunity to inch closer in the series finale Sunday afternoon. The Twins still hold the second spot, but pending the results of Sunday's games, the Mariners, Royals, and Angels are all within two games.
Twins starter Dillon Gee was hurt by the home run ball, first by Kendrys Morales and later from Donaldson. The right-hander left with none out in the fifth and was charged with four runs on seven hits while striking out five.
"I didn't think his command was quite as sharp as the last time out," said Twins manager Paul Molitor of Gee. "Obviously not having the runs to work with, but he battled. For the most part he did a good job of minimizing the bases-loaded situation. He only gave up one [run] on the sac fly -- he kept us in the game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bringing the rain: Shortly after Eduardo Escobar's two-run home run drew the Twins even, Donaldson pushed the Blue Jays back in front. The "Bringer of Rain" belted a fastball 427 feet to left field, bringing home Ezequiel Carrera who had led off the inning with a single. Donaldson now has three home runs in his last four games and 12 in a red-hot August.
"I was able to put a pretty good swing on it," Donaldson said. "I've been getting pounded in pretty much the last five or six games, but it was nice to finally be able to make somewhat of an adjustment and get the barrel on the ball." More >
"Rozycki" makes a game of it: The Twins made things interesting in the top of the eighth when Kepler launched a grand slam to bring them within one. Mauer and Eddie Rosario reached against lefty Tim Mayza before Dennis Tepera entered and hit Byron Buxton, the first batter he faced. Kepler, who is going by "Rozycki" for Players Weekend, sent the slam 389 feet to right. It was the first grand slam allowed by "Tep" in his career. More >
"You give up 10 [runs], it makes it tough," said Molitor. "We were on the wrong side of a lot of things that happened, particularly early in the game. We found a way to creep back in it with Max getting a big hit, and we got a break there on the misplay in the ninth to give us a little bit more life.
"We just couldn't get that last one. It's tough. You grind it out, guys played through the full nine innings. It was too little, too late at the end."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Morales now owns the three farthest-hit home runs at Rogers Centre in 2017, measuring in at 465, 460 and 455 feet.
Twins:Kyle Gibson (7-10, 5.76 ERA) gets the ball in Sunday's series finale with the Blue Jays at 12:07 p.m. CT. The right-hander, who is donning the nickname 'Gibby' for Players Weekend, is coming off his best start of the season, holding the White Sox to one run over seven innings while striking out a season-high eight batters.
Blue Jays: Gibbons announced after the game that Joe Biagini (3-8, 5.11) would start Sunday's finale at 1:07 p.m. ET after being stretched out in Triple-A Buffalo. In his final Triple-A start, Biagini, who is going by "Genie" for Players Weekend, threw 86 pitches over seven strong innings.
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Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto and covered the Blue Jays on Saturday.
Dhiren Mahiban is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Twins on Saturday.