Blue Jays 7, Twins 0

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TORONTO (AP)—A run of healthy competition between starting pitchers has the Toronto Blue Jays on one of their best streaks of the year.

Vernon Wells drove in four runs, Dustin McGowan won consecutive starts for the first time since early June and the Blue Jays beat the Minnesota Twins 7-0 Tuesday night to match their longest winning streak of the season at four.

“It feels good to get two good ones in a row,” McGowan said.

Toronto blanked its opponent for the third time in four games and raised its season shutout total to eight. Toronto starters are 5-1 with a 2.24 ERA in the team’s past six games.

“We’re just feeding off each other,” McGowan said. “You see the other four starters go out there and throw quality start after quality start together and you want to do the same thing and keep pace with them too. It makes it a lot of fun.”

“Not a very good ballgame by us,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “McGowan had something to do with that. He was really good. We knew he was going to be tough and he was tough.”

Wells homered in the fourth off Scott Baker (4-4), his 14th of the season but first since July 6, and added a two-run double in the eighth against Pat Neshek.

“Pitching is what’s carrying us and it’s been carrying us all year,” Wells said. “The last few performances the guys have been putting out there have been unbelievable and it’s been fun playing defense behind them.”

McGowan (7-5) allowed four hits in 7 1-3 innings, struck out five and walked three. Since beating the New York Yankees on May 28 and the Chicago White Sox on June 2, he had a no-decision and then alternated wins and losses in his next seven starts.

“That was a big game for him,” catcher Gregg Zaun said. “He proved to himself he can go out there when he doesn’t have his best stuff and still have quality innings and get people out.”

Facing McGowan for only the second time, Twins outfielder Torii Hunter came away shaking his head.

“He’s filthy,” Hunter said. “He reminds me of Roy Halladay.”

Casey Janssen and Brandon League finished the six-hitter, the eighth shutout against the Twins this year. Minnesota has lost three straight and 12 of 21. The Twins haven’t scored in 12 consecutive innings.

Baker (4-4) gave up four runs and six hits in seven innings, struck out five and walked one.

Toronto went ahead in the third when Aaron Hill doubled and scored on John McDonald’s sacrifice bunt.

Hunter appeared set to score the tying run from first base in the fourth on Rondell White’s two-out double to center. Waved home by third-base coach Scott Ullger, Hunter inexplicably stopped while rounding the base, then resumed running. Wells’ throw went over cutoff man McDonald but straight to Lyle Overbay. His relay arrived at the plate well ahead of Hunter—who slapped his hands in frustration after being tagged out.

“I think Scotty stopped him and then they overthrew the cutoff man so he tried to restart,” Gardenhire said. “Anytime you try to restart you get thrown out.”

Hunter said Overbay “came out of nowhere” to make the play.

“I was in no man’s land, so I had to try to at least make an effort to get home,” he said.

Wells made it 3-0 in the bottom half when he homered following Troy Glaus’ single. Baker retired the next 10 batters before Hill’s bloop double in the seventh. One out later, McDonald made it 4-0 with an RBI double, stopping an 0-for-21 slump.

Toronto added three more in the eighth on Wells’ double and Frank Thomas’ RBI single.

Notes

Janssen has pitched in eight of Toronto’s 13 games since the All-Star break. … The Twins have allowed 116 homers, second in the American League behind Tampa Bay.

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