Blue Jays 5, Twins 4
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—A pair of small adjustments paid big dividends for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Gregg Zaun hit a two-run homer and Toronto overcame four errors to beat the Twins 5-4 Wednesday night, the Blue Jays’ fifth win in six games.
Two innings earlier Zaun hit a similarly located fastball off the end of his bat resulting in a fly ball to right field. Watching video between at-bats, he noticed a small timing glitch in his swing.
“I was able to keep my frontside on the ball a little bit longer and get my backside working through it,” he said. “I was able to get the barrel where I wanted it to be in the right position, instead of being out front and around it.”
Josh Towers (3-5) gave up seven hits and three earned runs in the first three innings, but settled down to get his first win as a starter since April 15. He allowed just two hits in the next 3 1-3 innings.
Jeremy Accardo pitched the final 1 1-3 innings for his 10th save in 12 chances.
“I was getting frustrated because they had a lot of base hits and were running on us,” Towers said. “I tried to make an adjustment with my arm slot and I thought the slider got better, so my confidence grew a little bit.”
Towers returned to Toronto’s rotation on June 7 after being demoted to the bullpen after four starts in April. In his previous outing last Friday, he was tagged for five runs and 11 hits in four innings by Colorado.
Early on, it looked as if though those numbers might be repeated.
“We had opportunities and just didn’t get them in,” said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire. “That’s what happened early in the game. You have a chance to put a guy away with a big hit or two. We scored three, though. You get a lead you should be able to hold it.”
It was the second straight night that a Toronto outfielder struck down a Minnesota baserunner at the plate. Alex Rios threw out Hunter on Tuesday.
“Zaun is one of the best I’ve ever seen at blocking the plate,” Towers said. “He did a good job and Vernon put the ball on the money. It’s a good play. It’s a momentum builder, a momentum swing.”
Toronto began to get to Bonser in the fifth, making him go deeper into counts and closing the deficit to 3-2. Howie Clark hit an RBI double and scored on a groundout by Wells.
“He looked like he quit attacking. You walk people, you get hurt,” Gardenhire said. “He couldn’t locate the fastball. When you start missing with your fastball, then all you can throw is the other stuff, you are going to get behind in the count.”
Bonser fell to 1-3 with a 6.91 ERA in five June starts. He went 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA in six May starts.
“Obviously, this month hasn’t been going my way. I have to go out there in another five days and try to turn stuff around,” he said. “I am in a slump. It is like when a hitter goes 0-for-10 or whatever. It’s a bad month.”
Zaun’s third homer put the Blue Jays ahead, and a sacrifice fly by Rios in the seventh gave Toronto a 5-3 lead.
Minnesota scored once in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Hunter, but Brian Wolfe struck out Kubel with two runners on.
“Wolfe was a key guy,” said Toronto manager John Gibbons. “He comes in with the bases loaded and gets Hunter to fly out and then he got a big strikeout on Kubel.”
Thomas went 1-for-2 with two walks and stayed at 499 career home runs. … After the game, Toronto activated A.J. Burnett from the 15-day disabled list and returned Ty Taubenheim to Triple-A Syracuse. … Minnesota 1B Justin Morneau, out since Friday with a bruised lung, passed more medical tests Wednesday, and is expected to soon hit in the batting cage. Cuddyer started at 1B for the second straight game. … For the first time this year, Aaron Hill did not start at second base for Toronto. Clark got the nod. … Minnesota’s Luis Castillo had his AL-leading 30th infield hit of the year in the seventh.