The Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS–Even with Josh Donaldson missing 16 games on the disabled list, Jose Bautista gone, and Kendrys Morales off to a slow start, the Toronto Blue Jays are powering up again and supplying the offence they’ve become used to north of the border.
Justin Smoak and Russell Martin homered, and Yangervis Solarte had three hits, as Toronto topped the Minnesota Twins 7-5 last night.
Smoak hit a towering, two-run shot to cap a three-run fourth inning to stake the Jays to a 5-0 lead.
Martin added a solo homer to the second deck in left field an inning later as Toronto won its second game in a row.
“You’re going to play many a game like that,” said Jays’ manager John Gibbons. “It never feels good.
“They had the tying run at second but we got our closer out there.
“Bottom line, we won that thing,” he added. “We had a chance early on to really blow it open.”
Minnesota has lost 10 of its past 11 games after a rally against closer Roberto Osuna fell short in the ninth.
The Twins stranded runners on second and third as Osuna secured his seventh save in eight chances.
“There were some positives,” Twins’ manager Paul Molitor said. “You kind of try to look for things when wins are hard to come by.
“Obviously, we’ve been facing a lot of deficits early in games.”
Toronto slipped to last in the American League in scoring last season and was seventh in home runs in the AL.
After hitting three home runs in Sunday’s win, the Jays entered the night tied for second in the majors in homers this season and were fifth in runs scored.
Aaron Sanchez (2-2) was the beneficiary of the run support. He pitched six innings, allowing four runs and six hits and three walks.
Minnesota’s Lance Lynn (0-3) struggled with his command again and couldn’t get past the fifth inning for the fourth time in five starts this season.
Lynn gave up six runs in five innings. He allowed seven hits and walked five batters.
He has an 8.37 ERA for the season.
At one point, he threw nine-straight balls and walked Curtis Granderson with the bases loaded in the second.
“I’m going to be all right,” Lynn said. “I’ve just got to be me and attack hitters and make pitches. I’ve got the ability to do that.
“I’ve showed that over the course of my career,” he noted. “And now I’ve just got to go do it.”
Eduardo Escobar hit his fourth homer of the season for Minnesota–a two-run blast to straightaway centre in the fifth.
Max Kepler had three hits, including an RBI double in the seventh, but Logan Morrison popped out with two runners on in the inning against reliever Danny Barnes.
Toronto has had an inconsistent start overall but ended April at 16-12–their first winning opening month since 2012.
The Jays started 12-3, then lost seven-of-10 before the back-to-back wins.
“I like this team,” Gibbons said. “It’s only going to get better whenever Josh comes back.
“I think our rotation will pick it up,” he added.
“Once that happens, we got a chance to be really good.”
Elsewhere in the AL, Boston beat Kansas City 10-6, Houston nipped New York 2-1, Tampa Bay edged Detroit 3-2, and Cleveland topped Texas 7-5.
Over in the NL, Chicago nipped Colorado 3-2, Washington edged Pittsburgh 3-2, Miami doubled Philadelphia 8-4, Milwaukee topped Cincinnati 6-5, Arizona beat L.A. 8-5, and San Francisco shaded San Diego 6-5.