Blue Jays 7, Twins 1

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Matt Garza was anxious in his highly anticipated pitching debut, and the best hitting team in the majors took advantage.

Reed Johnson and John McDonald hit two-run homers, and the Toronto Blue Jays spoiled Garza’s big day by beating the Minnesota Twins 7-1 Friday night.

“It was a little more than I expected,” Garza said. “I tried to play it calm, but I couldn’t play it calm enough.

“I was a little nervous and a little excited. Hopefully I can control it next time.”

Garza’s night started out perfectly. He struck out Johnson on three pitches to begin the game and received a standing ovation.

But Frank Catalanotto followed with an infield single, Troy Glaus walked with two outs and Lyle Overbay drove in both runners with a double to make it 2-0.

“Basically, it was a one-pitch pitcher that ended up throwing a lot of fastballs,” said manager Ron Gardenhire, after watching his rookie lose control of his curveball and slider. “You can tell he was a little over-amped.”

It got worse for Garza (0-1) in the second when Toronto had five hits, including a two-run homer from Johnson and an RBI single from Glaus that made it 5-0.

“Leave the ball up, no matter if you throw 100 miles per hour or 88, it’s going to get hit a mile,” Garza said.

A.J. Burnett was able to keep his pitches down and strike out a season-high 10 as Toronto won for the fifth time in six games.

“Their guy was unbelievable,” Gardenhire said of Burnett.

A day after Toronto beat the Twins 5-0, Burnett (4-5) held them scoreless for 6 2-3 innings. The right-hander allowed one run and six hits. Jason Bartlett hit an RBI double for the Twins’ run.

“That kid had good stuff and if we wouldn’t have gotten to him early he’d have lasted a lot longer,” Burnett added. “The offense jumped ahead and I just tried to throw up zeros.”

McDonald hit a two-run shot off Garza in the third to end the rookie’s night. Garza allowed eight hits and seven runs in 2 2-3 innings, with two walks and two strikeouts. All seven runs scored with two outs, but despite the poor showing players on both sides spoke positively about Garza.

“We’re a good hitting team, but he’s got everything,” Johnson said. “He’s going to be a good pitcher. You can just see it in him.”


Minnesota has dropped four straight home games, and six of eight, after going 24-2 over their previous 26 home games. … In five starts this season for Triple-A Rochester of the International League, Garza was 3-1 with a 1.85 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 34 innings. … Twins cleanup hitter Michael Cuddyer broke an 0-for-12 slide with a double in the second innings. … Burnett is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA and 15 strikeouts in his last two starts. … Toronto improved to 43-19 when scoring first. … The Blue Jays are 4-1 against the Twins this season, and have outscored them 18-4 in the last three games.

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