Morrison, Kepler hit HRs as Twins rout Blue Jays 8-3
TORONTO (AP) It wasn’t his leaping catch at the center-field wall that Minnesota’s Max Kepler liked most about Monday’s game, or his two-run homer.
It was the final score.
”It’s a good feeling,” Kepler said. ”We’ll build off that.”
Joe Mauer and Mitch Garver each had three hits and right-hander Adalberto Mejia (1-0) pitched 5 1/3 innings for his first win of the season as the Twins bounced back after being swept at Kansas City over the weekend.
The Twins had 13 hits, all in the first five innings. It’s the fourth time this month Minnesota has collected 13 hits in a game.
”After Kansas City, we had to come out and swing the bats well,” manager Paul Molitor said. ”A lot of guys had good nights.”
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit a solo home run for the Blue Jays. Toronto swept a three-game series from Baltimore over the weekend but couldn’t extend its winning streak against the Twins.
Promoted from Triple-A Rochester to make his second start of the season, Mejia allowed one run and eight hits.
”To get into the sixth inning and only give up one run, you’ve got to be pleased with that,” Molitor said.
Mejia left with the bases loaded but Matt Belisle came on and retired two straight to escape the jam.
The Blue Jays gave right-hander Luis Santos his first career start because right-hander Marco Estrada remains sidelined with a strained left gluteal muscle. Santos (0-1) allowed one run and three hits in two innings.
”It didn’t work too well,” manager John Gibbons said of the parade of relievers. ”At the big league level you never want to do that, but sometimes you have to.”
Gurriel homered in the bottom half, his fifth, but Mauer and Escobar hit RBI singles in the fourth before Morrison and Kepler both connected off Joe Biagini in Minnesota’s three-run fifth.
Kepler’s 13th homer came after he struck out in his first two at-bats.
”I felt like I was swinging too hard,” he said. ”I just tried to put an easy swing on that one to put it in play and it snuck out.”
Morrison is 4 for 10 in his past two games after returning from the disabled list Saturday. He’d been out since July 11 because of a sore left hip.
”Usually it takes guys a little bit of time to get back in the swing of things but he looks great,” Kepler said.
Kepler ran all the way from left-center to right-center to retire Randal Grichuk in the third, jumping into the outfield scoreboard to make the grab.
”Surprisingly it didn’t hurt that bad,” Kepler said. ”My knee kind of went into that plastic cover but it feels fine.”
TRAGEDY IN TORONTO
A moment of silence was held before the game for the victims of Sunday night’s shooting in Toronto’s Greektown neighborhood. Two people died and 13 were injured.
COOL IT DOWN
Mejia was grateful to pitch under a dome after dealing with extreme heat in his previous start, June 30 at Chicago against the Cubs. Teammates Kepler, Eddie Rosario and Bobby Wilson all left that game because of heat-related illness.
Twins: RHP Michael Pineda (elbow surgery) is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment with a two-inning stint for Class A Fort Myers on Aug. 6. … RHP Addison Reed (elbow) will throw 20 to 25 pitches of live batting practice Tuesday. … RHP Alan Busenitz was optioned to Rochester to open a roster spot for Mejia.
Blue Jays: Estrada was supposed to make a rehab start at Double-A New Hampshire on Monday, but travel complications forced a change of venue. Estrada will now pitch at Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday. … OF Kevin Pillar played catch for the first time since a sternoclavicular joint injury when he made a diving catch at Boston on July 14. … RHP Danny Barnes (left knee) will begin a rehab assignment at Class A Dunedin on Tuesday. … Triple-A RHP Chris Rowley, the first West Point graduate to play in the major leagues, was claimed off waivers by the Texas Rangers.
Twins RHP Jose Berrios (9-7, 3.68) faces Blue Jays LHP Ryan Borucki (0-1, 3.52) on Tuesday. Berrios matched a season worst by allowing six earned runs in his previous outing, July 14 against Tampa Bay. Borucki will be called up from Buffalo to make his fifth big league start.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball