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Eight Is Not Great: Twins Lose Again, 11-3

The Toronto Blue Jays struck early and often on Sunday afternoon, scoring in each of the first four innings en route to trouncing the Minnesota Twins at Target Field by a final score of 11-3.

The Blue Jays had their offense going early, as a two-out, two-run double by Aaron Hill in the top of the first gave Toronto a quick 2-0 lead. An RBI double by Yunel Escobar in the top of the second made the score 3-0. Jose Bautista led off the top of the third with a solo home run to left off of Brian Duensing to make the score 4-0, and the Jays would score three more times in the inning to make it 7-0 in favor of the visitors.

Duensing was lifted after three innings for Kevin Slowey, and Bautista greeted him with a solo home run to left as well, extending Toronto's lead to 8-0. The Twins then appeared to almost have a threat going in the bottom of the fourth against Toronto starter Brendan Morrow. Trevor Plouffe got hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, Jason Kubel singled to put runners on the corners, and Justin Morneau walked to load the bases for Minnesota with nobody out.

In typical Twins fashion. . .the 2011 Twins, anyway. . .it didn't amount to much. Delmon Young struck out on three pitches, and Michael Cuddyer walked to force home Minnesota's first run. Danny Valencia then flew out to right, but not deep enough for Kubel to score from third base, and Drew Butera struck out to end the inning.

After that, the Twins managed to hold the Blue Jays scoreless for an entire inning, and RBI doubles from Plouffe and Morneau narrowed the gap to 8-3 going into the sixth. Toronto then refocused themselves, and picked up three more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Those runs came courtesy of an RBI single from Corey Patterson, and Bautista's third home run of the afternoon, who decided to add a little variety by taking Slowey out to right field instead. The score at that point was 11-3, and that was how the game ended. Minnesota loaded the bases again in the bottom of the ninth, but Toronto reliever Octavio Dotel got Jason Kubel to strike out looking to end the ball game.

Morrow got the victory for the Blue Jays, evening his record on the season at 2-2. Duensing took the loss, allowing eight hits and seven runs in his three innings of work, dropping his record to 2-3. Slowey allowed four runs on five hits in six innings of relief.

No rest for Minnesota, as they'll catch a flight out of town to Seattle for a quick two-game set with the Seattle Mariners on Monday and Tuesday. First pitch from Safeco Field on Monday is scheduled for 9:10 PM Central time. The pitching match-up will have Scott Baker (2-2, 3.71 ERA) taking the mound for the Twins. He'll be opposed by one of baseball's best pitchers, Seattle's Felix Hernandez (4-3, 3.36 ERA).

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