TORONTO (AP) — Swept in Kansas City during their first series following the All-Star break, the Minnesota Twins responded with a rare series sweep north of the border.
Max Kepler drove in the tiebreaking run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in a six-run 11th inning, and the Twins beat the Blue Jays 12-6 on Wednesday to complete their first sweep at Toronto in more than 15 years.
“One of those games where we needed everything,” Twins manager Paul Monitor said. “We took advantage of some wildness and a couple of really big hits.”
Mitch Garver went 4 for 6 with a homer and five RBIs, and Joe Mauer had three hits and three RBIs to give Minnesota its first sweep in Toronto since April 2003.
“Garv had just a phenomenal day,” Molitor said.
Toronto manager John Gibbons was ejected for arguing with plate umpire Sean Barber after right-hander Jake Petricka (1-1) hit Kepler with a 1-2 pitch, forcing home Brian Dozier from third base.
“One of those games,” Gibbons said. “We had a chance. We had some bad baserunning.”
Speaking to reporters after the game, Kepler hiked up his jeans to display a cut on his shin to prove he’d been struck by Petricka’s pitch.
“I was actually trying to get out of the way,” he said.
Matt Belisle (1-0) pitched two innings as the Twins won their third straight, earning their third sweep of the season.
“It’s good momentum heading into Boston,” Dozier said. The Twins begin a four-game set against the AL East leaders on Thursday.
Minnesota outhit Toronto 17-16.
After the Blue Jays put the potential winning run at third base with one out in the ninth, Molitor brought left fielder Eddie Rosario in to be a fifth infielder. The move paid off when Yangervis Solarte lined out to shortstop and Kendrys Morales was doubled off first base.
“We’re just trying to plug as many holes as we can,” Molitor said. “As far as their baserunning, I don’t know what happened there. He drifted and we took advantage.”
Morales also was doubled off second base for the final out of the first.
Garver broke a 3-all tie with a solo homer off Aaron Loup in the sixth, and the Twins made it 6-3 against Joe Biagini in the eighth on Garver’s run-scoring single and Mauer’s RBI double.
Toronto tied it against Trevor Hildenberger in the bottom half when Luke Maile had a two-run single and Aledmys Diaz hit into a run-scoring forceout.
Making his first start since surgery on his right middle finger in February, Twins right-hander Ervin Santana allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings.
Santana said he was anxious about getting back on the mound, and it showed during a shaky first in which he gave up a run on two hits and a walk.
“The first inning was the tough one for me,” Santana said. “After that I settled down, took a deep breath and just got back to work.”
Blue Jays right-hander Sam Gaviglio allowed three runs and six hits in five innings, extending his winless stretch to 11 starts.
Toronto’s Lourdes Gurriel Jr. went 2 for 5, stretching his streak of multihit games to eight. It’s the longest by a Blue Jays rookie and the longest in the majors this season.
Blue Jays OF Teoscar Hernandez was held out of the starting lineup but came on as a pinch hitter in the sixth. Hernandez had struggled defensively in recent games, making a key two-base error in Tuesday’s loss. “I’m not punishing him by any means, but he has to get better out there,” Gibbons said before the game. Hernandez made a leaping catch at the wall in left for the first out of the seventh.
Twins: Utilityman Taylor Motter was designated for assignment to open a roster spot for Santana.
Blue Jays: Diaz returned after sitting out the previous two games because of a sore left thumb.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (4-7, 4.54 ERA) starts Thursday against the Red Sox. Gibson is 1-1 with a 1.74 ERA in three career starts at Fenway Park. LHP Brian Johnson (1-3, 3.81) goes for Boston.
Blue Jays: Toronto begins a three-game series at the Chicago White Sox on Friday, with RHP Marcus Stroman (3-7, 5.42) facing White Sox RHP Reynaldo Lopez (4-8, 4.13). Stroman is 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA in his past three starts. Lopez is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in his last three outings.
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