(Sports Network) – Alex Gonzalez drove in three runs and Brett Cecil pitched seven strong innings, as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Minnesota Twins, 8-1, in the rubber match of a three-game series.
Cecil (8-5) allowed one run on four hits for the Blue Jays, who have won two straight following a three-game skid. Adam Lind, Fred Lewis, Lyle Overbay, Jose Bautista and Jose Molina each hit a solo home run in the victory.
Scott Baker started on the mound and suffered the loss for the Twins, who have dropped five of their last seven games overall. Baker (7-8) yielded five runs on seven hits over six innings of work. Michael Cuddyer homered for the lone Minnesota run.
“I was making some good pitches, but I got a few up and made several mistakes,” said Baker. “For the most part, I thought I threw okay — I don’t think the (statistics) justify how I felt about my outing.”
The Twins will now travel to Detroit for a key AL Central divisional weekend series against the Tigers prior to the upcoming All-Star break, while the Blue Jays will close their unofficial first half of the season with a home set against Boston.
After Lewis led off the bottom of the first with his fifth home run of the season, the Blue Jays scored four runs in the home portion of the second inning for a five-run advantage.
Lind began the second with a leadoff homer and Aaron Hill followed with a single. Edwin Encarnacion’s one-out base hit preceded another single by Molina which loaded the bases. With two outs, Gonzalez drilled a double to center field and cleared the bases for a 5-0 margin.
“The two-out hit that Gonzalez had was well up and he got on top of it,” said Overbay. “That really got us going.”
The only run for the visitors was scored in the top of the fourth when Cuddyer reached down and belted a low fastball over the wall in left-center field.
In the seventh, solo home runs by Overbay and Molina gave the Twins a 7-1 advantage and the scoring was capped by Bautista’s solo blast in the eighth.
“They just kept hitting home runs, and we didn’t have a whole lot of offense, so it ended up being a long night for us,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.
Casey Janssen pitched a scoreless eighth before David Purcey took the mound to close it out in the top of the ninth.
Twins All-Star first baseman Justin Morneau, along with outfielder Delmon Young, are listed as day-to-day due to injuries suffered on Wednesday. Both missed this contest. Morneau has a mild concussion and Young has a left wrist sprain…Toronto has now captured 17 of the last 22 meetings between these clubs…Baker fell to 1-6 in nine road starts this season and is also 0-4 lifetime against the Jays after this setback…The game was completed in a swift 2 hours, 15 minutes…J.J. Hardy posted two hits in the loss.