Blue Jays 6, Twins 4
TORONTO (AP)—Frank Thomas put an emphatic end to a three-week power outage.
Thomas homered twice to raise his total to 503 and pull within one of Eddie Murray for 20th place as the Toronto Blue Jays sent Johan Santana to a rare second-half loss, beating the Minnesota Twins 6-4 on Monday night.
“I’ve not been a happy camper the past few days,” said Thomas, who came in 1-for-9 in his past three games and was without a homer since July 1, a span of 62 at bats.
“I haven’t been swinging the bat like I know I’m capable of,” Thomas said. “My timing has been off. I’ve been working hard to get my mechanics right and today it just clicked.”
Reed Johnson and Alex Rios added solo shots off Santana (11-8), who allowed four home runs in a game for the first time in 163 major league starts. He gave up three homers five times previously but not since May 7, 2004, against Oakland.
“He was up and when you’re up against big hitters, that’s what happens, the ball goes out of the ballpark,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Santana dropped to 41-6 following the All-Star game since the 2003 break. He allowed six runs and seven hits in five innings, matching his shortest start this season.
“Those guys were aggressive, they were swinging right away,” Santana said. “It seemed like the ball was flying today.”
Thomas hit a two-run homer in the second that put the Blue Jays ahead 3-0 and another two-run drive in the fifth that made it 6-3. It was his 30th multihomer game, his first this year.
“I tried to throw a couple of fastballs away and they stayed up,” Santana said. “He’s the Big Hurt. If you make a mistake, you’re going to pay for it.”
Thomas has 52 homers against the Twins, tying Rocky Colavito for the most against the Minnesota/expansion Washington Senators franchise. Reggie Jackson and Mickey Mantle hit 51 each.
“It doesn’t really matter if you lose the game,” a dejected Morneau said. “It’s tough.”
Morneau homered for the first time in his native Canada and has 28 this season, the third-highest total in the major leagues.
“It’s too bad to see a performance like he had tonight be wasted,” Santana said.
Shaun Marcum (6-4) allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings. Casey Janssen pitched 1 2-3 perfect innings, Scott Downs got Morneau on a grounder to end the eighth and Jeremy Accardo finished for his 16th save in 19 chances.
Johnson gave Toronto its fifth leadoff homer this year. After Thomas boosted the lead, Morneau’s first homer cut it to 3-1 in the second. Rios homered leading off the third, but Joe Mauer tripled in the fourth and Morneau’s second homer pulled Minnesota to 4-3.
Poor baserunning cost Minnesota a chance to tie the score in the fifth. Jason Tyner led off with a hit and went to third when Nick Punto singled past shortstop Royce Clayton, who was covering second base on a hit-and-run.
Luis Castillo followed with a grounder to first baseman Matt Stairs, who caught Tyner in a rundown between third and home. Third baseman Troy Glaus tagged out Tyner, then wheeled and threw to Clayton, who was covering third and tagged out Punto to complete the 3-2-5-6 double play.
“That wasn’t very pretty,” Gardenhire said. “That one hurt us. We had a chance to score some runs and we kind of ran ourselves right out of it. Things like that will kill you when you’re trying to come back.”
Hunter hit a solo homer in the sixth.
The Blue Jays also hit four homers in a 9-8, 13-inning win at Minnesota on May 26. … Morneau’s second-inning homer stopped a 23-inning scoreless streak by Toronto pitchers.