Thomas tries to lead the Blue Jays to a season-high tying fourth straight victory when they continue a three-game series with the Twins on Tuesday at Rogers Centre.
The Blue Jays’ designated hitter had gone 16 games without a home run before connecting twice against Johan Santana in a 6-4 win over Minnesota in Monday’s opener. Thomas raised his career total to 503 and pulled within one of Eddie Murray for 20th place on the all-time list.
It was his 29th multihomer game and first this year.
“I haven’t been swinging the bat like I know I’m capable of,” said Thomas, who was 1-for-13 in his previous four games. “My timing has been off. I’ve been working hard to get my mechanics right and today it just clicked.”
Things generally click when Thomas faces the Twins, as he’s hit 52 homers against them to tie Rocky Colavito for the most against the Minnesota/expansion Washington Senators franchise. It’s Thomas’ highest total versus any team.
The 39-year-old veteran is 1-for-5 with a homer during his career against Scott Baker, who will take the mound for Minnesota on Tuesday. Reed Johnson and Alex Rios also homered Monday for the Blue Jays, who have 15 home runs against the Twins this season - their most against any opponent.
Toronto (49-50) is trying to match its season-high winning streak set June 22-25. The Blue Jays are also looking to get back to .500 for first time since falling to 39-39 with an 8-5 defeat to Minnesota on June 28.
They’ll hand the ball to Dustin McGowan (6-5, 4.84 ERA), who will try for back-to-back strong outings. The right-hander held the New York Yankees to two runs and four hits over seven innings in a 3-2 victory Thursday.
“After the first inning, I just quit overthrowing and started pitching,” said McGowan, who has alternated wins and losses over his last seven starts.
McGowan has a 1.24 ERA in his last four wins, and a 13.11 ERA in the three most recent defeats.
The 25-year-old right-hander is 3-1 with a 4.35 ERA in five home starts this season. He pitched one inning of relief versus the Twins last season, giving up one run, but will be making his first start against them.
Minnesota (51-48) has dropped five of its last seven and is below .500 on the road at 23-24 for the first time since June 22.
Justin Morneau hit two home runs for the Twins on Monday to bring his season total to 28, third-most in the majors.
“It doesn’t really matter if you lose the game,” a dejected Morneau said. “It’s tough.”
Torii Hunter added a solo homer, but Minnesota couldn’t overcome a rare shaky performance from Santana. The Twins ace allowed four home runs for the first time in 163 major league starts and gave up a season-high six runs.
Baker (4-3, 5.32) tries to help Minnesota bounce back as he looks to win his third straight decision. The right-hander allowed three runs and 10 hits over 6 1-3 innings Thursday in the Twins’ 4-3, 10-inning defeat to Detroit.
He is 0-0 with a 2.92 ERA in two career starts against the Blue Jays, both coming this season. Baker held them to one run and four hits over seven innings while striking out a season-high nine June 26, with Minnesota going on to a 2-1, 12-inning win.