TORONTO -- Byron Buxton completely took over Sunday's game with the best day of his Major League career, launching three home runs to lead the Twins to a 7-2 victory and Players Weekend series win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. "Buck" finished the day 4-for-5 with five RBIs and
TORONTO -- Byron Buxton completely took over Sunday's game with the best day of his Major League career, launching three home runs to lead the Twins to a 7-2 victory and Players Weekend series win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
"Buck" finished the day 4-for-5 with five RBIs and home runs off three different pitchers that totalled 1,144 feet. The 23-year-old recorded seven hits in the three-game series, including two walks and two stolen bases. He also has eight home runs in a red-hot August after entering the month with just five.
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"First time here, but it's comfortable -- put it that way," Buxton said of his first visit to Toronto. "Good hitting park to hit in. Loved the atmosphere here. It's a great place to play."
Twins starter Kyle Gibson limited the Blue Jays to two runs over 6 2/3 innings of quality work. "Gibby" struck out seven batters to limit the damage from seven hits over a season-high 108 pitches.
"I thought he was good today," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Strikes were good for the most part. Attacking was pretty good. The deeper the rotation is and the more guys are throwing well, you've got a chance to win every day."
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Joe Biagini didn't fare nearly as well for the Blue Jays in his first start back from Triple-A Buffalo, where he'd been stretching out for a return to the rotation. He allowed five runs on nine hits over just 3 2/3 innings of work and walked three, which quickly ran his pitch count up to 85.
"It was a tough day for him obviously," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons after the game. "I thought maybe he was overthrowing a little bit too much because the ball was definitely in the zone and they barrelled it pretty good."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
"Buck" barrels up "Genie:" Buxton chased Biagini with his first homer of the game, a two-run shot in the top of the fourth to left field. The low liner left Buxton's bat at just 19 degrees, but had an exit velocity of 108.9 mph. The two-out homer also saved the Twins from stranding Joe Mauer on third base after he led off the inning with a triple.
"Little Papi" grabs the lead: The Twins jumped ahead 3-1 in the top of the third with a two-run single from Kennys Vargas that scored Eddie Rosario and Buxton. Vargas flared the single into left field with an exit velocity of just 71.5 mph, but there could have been even more damage that inning if the Twins hadn't lost a runner in a rundown or left the bases loaded for the second time.
"He's got as much talent as anybody out there in the game. A young kid who's just figuring it out." -- Gibbons, on Buxton
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Toronto's pitchers combined for 17 strikeouts, setting a season high. Four Twins batters struck out three times and Buxton was the only batter not to strike out. More >
Twins:Ervin Santana (13-7, 3.24 ERA) gets the ball for a second straight start against the White Sox in the opener of a three-game series in Minnesota on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. CT. In his last outing against Chicago, Santana allowed just three hits and one earned run in seven innings but came away with a no-decision in the White Sox win.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Marcus Stroman (11-6, 3.17 ERA) will open Toronto's series at home against the Red Sox on Monday at 7:07 p.m. ET. Stroman is coming off one of his more difficult outings of the season where he allowed five runs over 5 1/3 innings to the Rays, but has shown the ability to bounce back throughout 2017.
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Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.
Nick Patch is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Twins on Sunday.