Blue Jays-Twins Preview
The Minnesota Twins are in position to match their longest winning streak of the season all of two games.
The Twins will try to make it back-to-back wins over the Toronto Blue Jays when they resume a four-game series Saturday afternoon in Minneapolis.
Minnesota (9-23), which had dropped five of six entering Friday's series opener, got a boost from outfielder Darin Mastroianni in a 7-6 win. A former Blue Jays draft pick playing his second game of the season, Mastroianni singled twice for his first major league hits and knocked in three runs.
His two-run single capped a four-run fifth inning and gave the Twins a 6-2 lead. He added an RBI single in the seventh to provide a vital insurance run.
"Just to be in the books that you got a hit in the big leagues, for it to be such an important one is something I can't imagine," said Mastroianni, who played one game with Toronto last season. "The second one was just as big as the first one."
Minnesota, which owns the worst record in the majors, hasn't won consecutive games since defeating the Los Angeles Angels on April 11 and 12.
With its fourth loss in six games, Toronto (18-15) fell to 4-4 on a 10-game road trip. Jose Bautista hit a pair of solo homers for the Blue Jays, continuing an amazing stretch of power hitting in the Gopher State that began last year.
Bautista is 9 for 22 (.409) with seven homers and nine RBIs in his last five games at Target Field. He failed to record a homer or drive in a run in seven of his first eight games in Minnesota between 2004 and 2010.
However, with the tying run on third base Friday, Bautista popped out to end a game that had a rain delay of 1 hour, 51 minutes.
"It's bad news, we lost. I'm not going to make this game about me or my results," Bautista said. "Bottom line, we came out here to try to win a game and we didn't. We're not going to kill ourselves over it, it's just one game."
Rookie Drew Hutchison (1-1, 6.65 ERA) is slated for to make his fifth start for the Blue Jays on Saturday.
The right-hander has made three starts on the road this year, giving up 11 runs and 22 hits over 15 2-3 innings. Hutchison yielded four runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings Sunday and lost for the first time in his big-league career, 4-3 to the Angels in Anaheim.
Minnesota's P.J. Walters will make his season debut and first major league start since 2010, as he faces Toronto for the first time.
Walters was recalled from the minors Thursday to take over the spot in the Twins rotation left open when Francisco Liriano was demoted to the bullpen earlier this week.
The right-hander went 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA in six starts for Triple-A Rochester.
Walters' last major league start came on Sept. 29, 2010, with St. Louis. He limited Pittsburgh to three hits over seven scoreless innings, walked one and struck out four in the Cardinals' 4-1 victory.
The Cardinals dealt Walters to Toronto as part of the Edwin Jackson trade prior to last summer's deadline. He pitched one scoreless inning of relief for the Blue Jays on July 28, but got sent to the minors after that and signed with Minnesota in the offseason.