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Liriano Rocked As Twins Fall To Blue Jays, 13-2

(Sports Network) – Jose Bautista hit his 53rd and 54th home runs of the year, one for a grand slam, and the Blue Jays continued their season-long home run binge with six in a 13-2 rout of Minnesota.

Edwin Encarnacion hit two home runs and drove in three, Travis Snider clubbed a two-run shot and Jose Molina added a solo blast. A John Buck RBI double in the sixth and Mike McCoy’s run-scoring base hit in the ninth were the only runs not scored via the longball for Toronto, which has a major-league best 253 home runs.

Toronto had already set a franchise record for home runs in a season its last time out in finishing up a series win against the Yankees. Thursday’s performance placed the club fourth in MLB annals for home runs in a single season behind only the 1997 Mariners (264), 2005 Rangers (260) and 1996 Orioles (257).

Bautista, meanwhile, keeps adding to an already impressive 2010 resume. In addition to leading the majors in home runs, his five RBI gave him 124 on the year — second only to Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera (126), who has been shut down for the remainder of the season with an ankle injury.

The AL Central champion Twins have three games left in this season-ending four-game set and trail both Tampa Bay and New York by a game in the battle for the best overall record in the Junior Circuit.

Encarnacion started the fireworks with a two-run homer in the second, then led off the fifth with his 18th of the season. That was followed by Molina’s home run to make it a 4-0 game.

Drew Butera got one back for the hosts with an RBI single in the bottom half, but Bautista started the sixth with a base hit and was quickly home on Buck’s double to left that chased Twins starter Francisco Liriano (14-10).

Liriano was charged with five runs on six hits with a walk and six strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Michael Cuddyer tripled in a run in the sixth to make it 5-2, but the Jays poured on eight more runs in the final three frames.

Alex Burnett loaded the bases with one out in the seventh and Pat Neshek was called upon to handle Bautista, who worked the count to 3-1 before crushing a changeup deep to left into the second deck at Target Field.

Snider belted out a two-run shot in the eighth and Bautista led off the ninth with a home run to right. Toronto went on to load the bases later in the inning and McCoy’s RBI single put the finishing touches on a 13-hit effort for the visitors.

Game Notes

Snider is riding a career-high 12-game hitting streak and hit his 14th homer of the season…Toronto’s Shawn Hill lasted 4 2/3 and gave up a run on three hits in his fourth start of the season…Casey Janssen (5-2) got the win for tossing 1 1/3 innings of spotless relief…Liriano, who was tabbed to start Game 1 of the ALDS, was making his final start of the season…Joe Mauer returned to the Twins’ lineup and went 0-for-4. The 2009 AL MVP hadn’t played since September 19 due to inflammation in his left knee…The triple was Cuddyer’s fifth of the year.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.