McDonald lifts Jays over Twins

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TORONTO (AP)—Knocked out of first place by defensive miscues and missed opportunities at the plate, the Minnesota Twins aren’t cursing their luck, just hoping it changes in a hurry.

John McDonald singled home the go-ahead run in the 11th inning and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Minnesota 5-4 on Wednesday night, posting their eighth straight victory over the Twins.

Minnesota lost for the eighth time in 11 games and dropped to 5-8 with one game remaining on its 14-game road trip. The Twins fell one game behind the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central. Chicago beat Cleveland 4-2.

“This will turn around,” Twins closer Joe Nathan said. “We’re not aren’t as bad as it has gone. As bad as our luck has gone, we’re hoping it’s going to turn and do just as good on the other end.”

Minnesota stranded 13 runners and matched a season high with three errors, including two that led to Toronto runs.

“We missed too many plays, bobbled too many balls and kept giving them opportunities,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Even as the pressure mounts, the Twins remain upbeat. The clubhouse stereo blasted Bob Marley after the game as backup catcher Mike Redmond threw a consoling arm around Jason Pridie, whose ninth-inning error allowed Toronto to tie it.

Gardenhire said his young team isn’t worried about the recent slide.

“We’re a game out of first place, we’re in September and I think a lot of teams would like to be where we’re at,” Gardenhire said. “A lot of people think the world is ending but it’s not for this clubhouse. We’ll be back and ready to play tomorrow.”

Blue Jays left-hander Jesse Carlson (6-1) worked one perfect inning to win for the second time in two days.

Toronto rookie Travis Snider had a career-high three hits as the Blue Jays won their fourth straight.

“We’re going to take a good look at this kid and hope that he continues to play like that,” manager Cito Gaston said. “He had a great night.”

Scott Rolen doubled off Eddie Guardado (3-4) to begin the 11th and went to third when Snider dropped a single in front of Jason Kubel in left. Boof Bonser came on to face McDonald, who lofted a single to center over the drawn-in outfield.

It was back and forth in the late innings as Minnesota took a 4-3 lead with a two-out rally in the ninth against Toronto closer B.J. Ryan. Justin Mourneau doubled and Jason Kubel walked before both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Brendan Harris followed with a slow grounder up the middle, sliding safely into first ahead of the throw from second baseman Marco Scutaro.

Facing Nathan, the Blue Jays tied it in the bottom half. Gregg Zaun led off with a walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Curtis Thigpen. Two outs later, Snider lined a single to right that Pridie mishandled, allowing Thigpen to score and putting Snider at second.

“I’m not going to say it’s just because it’s my first day,” said Pridie, who was making his major league debut. “I know I’m a better defender than that.”

The Twins put a runner at third in the 10th against Brandon League, but Alexi Casilla grounded out, with Rolen making a backhanded stop and throwing to first from his knees.

Nathan worked out of a jam in the 10th as Toronto put the winning run at third with one out, but came up empty. Alex Rios tripled off the left field wall and Vernon Wells and Adam Lind were intentionally walked to load the bases, but Thigpen struck out and Lyle Overbay flied out.

Joe Inglett gave Toronto a 2-0 lead with a two-run homer in the third, but the Twins went ahead on Joe Mauer’s three-run double in the seventh.

Toronto tied it at 3-all in the bottom half with an unearned run off Twins starter Nick Blackburn. Kevin Mench scored from second when shortstop Nick Punto couldn’t handle Rolen’s grounder.

Blue Jays starter A.J. Burnett allowed three runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings. The right-hander walked four and struck out eight to give him 201 this season, the second time in his career he has topped 200. He struck out a career-high 203 in 2002.

Blackburn gave up three runs in 6 2-3 innings and has not won in five starts. He walked none and struck out six.


Twins OF Delmon Young (ankle) was held out of the starting lineup. He had a pinch-hit double in the seventh. … Nathan’s blown save was his sixth of the season. … Toronto passed the 75 million mark in total franchise attendance (1977 to 2008) with a crowd of 21,475.

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