Blue Jays beat Twins 13-1
Gregg Zaun homered and drove in four runs, and the Blue Jays tied a franchise record with an 11-run sixth inning in a 13-1 victory over the Twins on Wednesday that completed a three-game sweep.
“I definitely feel like we’re riding a wave of confidence right now,” Zaun said. “Everybody is doing something. It’s not one guy carrying the club. It’s 25 guys on the roster making their contributions.”
Toronto (51-50) has won a season-high five straight to move over .500 for the first time since June 27, when it was 39-38. Minnesota (51-50) lost its fourth straight, matching a season worst.
“We obviously had a terrible series here,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “That was real ugly today.”
It’s the fourth time this season the Twins have been swept. Minnesota dropped 9 1/2 games back of AL Central-leading Detroit, which beat the Chicago White Sox 13-9 on Wednesday.
“It’s getting too late in the season to be getting swept,” catcher Mike Redmond said. “We’re running out of games. We’re losing too much ground. If we keep playing like this, we’re going to be out of it real quick.”
Zaun singled and scored in the fifth, then added both an RBI double and a three-run homer in the sixth. He finished 3-for-4, scored three runs and came within a triple of the cycle.
Jesse Litsch (3-4) allowed one run and five hits over seven innings, walking one and striking out four.
Toronto starters are 5-0 with a 1.25 ERA in the past five games. It’s the first time since June 8-13, 2003, that Toronto has received five consecutive wins from its starting pitchers.
“It’s awesome,” Litsch said. “Hopefully we can keep building on it.”
Toronto outscored Minnesota 26-5 in the series.
“Pitching is always going to set the tone for you,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “If they shut down the opposition it gives you a chance, but we’ve gone above and beyond that. We’ve really shut down the other teams and the offense has really come to life.”
The Twins opened the scoring in the fourth when on Justin Morneau’s RBI single. Lyle Overbay put Toronto in front with a two-run double in the fifth before the Blue Jays broke open the game in the sixth.
Frank Thomas drew a leadoff walk but was erased at second when Matt Stairs grounded into a fielder’s choice. Aaron Hill reached on third baseman Luis Rodriguez’s fielding error before Zaun hit an RBI double and John McDonald chased Carlos Silva (8-11) with a two-run triple.
Dennys Reyes replaced Silva but was lifted after giving up an RBI single to pinch-hitter Troy Glaus and a walk to Overbay. Juan Rincon didn’t fare much better, surrendering an RBI single to Alex Rios, a walk to Vernon Wells, a run-scoring single to Thomas and an RBI double to Stairs.
Matt Guerrier took over for Rincon and got Hill to ground out before Zaun homered into the right-field bullpen. The 14-batter frame finally ended when McDonald flied out.
“The inning got real ugly,” Gardenhire said. “We couldn’t throw the ball over the plate and when we did, they whacked it into the gaps.”
Silva lost for the first time in three starts, allowing six runs and eight hits over 5 1-3 innings. He walked two and struck out one.
“If you’re going to make mistakes against that team, the way they’re playing right now, you’re going to pay for it,” Silva said. “They’ve been playing very good baseball.”
Toronto had last scored 11 runs on April 26, 1995, against Oakland. … Joe Mauer, who had caught 10 of the Twins’ past 12 games, got the day off and was replaced by Mike Redmond. … Reyes allowed an earned run for the first time in 18 appearances since coming off the disabled list June 14. … Every Blue Jays starter except Howie Clark had at least one hit.