Swept by Kansas City in their first series following the All-Star break, the Minnesota Twins responded with a rare series sweep north of the border.
Max Kepler on Wednesday drove in the tiebreaking run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in a six-run 11th inning as the Twins beat the Blue Jays 12-6 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 four for six with a homer and five RBIs, while Joe Mauer had three hits and three RBIs to give Minnesota their 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 had been struck by Petricka’s pitch.
“I was actually trying to get out of the way,” Kepler said.
Matt Belisle (1-0) pitched two innings as the Twins won their third straight, earning their third sweep of the season.
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 was also doubled off second base for the final out of the first.
Garver broke a 3-3 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 force-out.
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.
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