MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Mark Buehrle was overthrowing in the first inning, his right arm livelier than he wanted. Chris Colabello had the jitters when he stepped in for his first at-bat, unnerved a little by being back in Minnesota.
By the end of the soggy night, the Toronto Blue Jays were feeling just fine.
Colabello hit a two-run tiebreaking homer in the ninth inning against former teammate Glen Perkins, giving Buehrle and the Blue Jays a 6-4 victory Friday that stopped a five-game winning streak for the Twins.
Buehrle (6-4) made a drastic recovery from a four-run first inning for his second complete game this season, raising his record in 51 career starts against the Twins to 29-19. Buehrle retired 24 of the last 26 batters he faced, allowing one single in that span. The other reached on an error.
"I didn’t change anything. I think it was a lot of luck after the first inning," said Buehrle, who joked about having a drink to relax before the next frame.
Colabello’s first at-bat against the team that gave him his major league debut came with the bases loaded, and he said he felt his legs shaking a little from the emotion of his return. He hit a soft bouncer to third base, ending the threat.
Perkins (0-1), the major league leader in saves, started fresh in the ninth after 10 straight outs by the Blue Jays. Russell Martin drew a walk after falling behind 0-2, and Colabello followed with his dramatic drive into the bullpen behind left-center field on a first-pitch fastball.
"I’ve seen him pitch for a couple years now. I was looking heater, trying to stay aggressive. Obviously I don’t want to get behind against a guy like him," Colabello said. "It was down a little bit, but I put a good swing on it."
Said Twins manager Paul Molitor: "He crushed that ball."
A journeyman who languished with independent league teams before making his major league debut in 2013 at age 29, Colabello set a Twins franchise record with 27 RBI last April before hurting his thumb and eventually being sent to the minors. The Blue Jays claimed him off waivers over the winter, and he’s off to another strong start. In 23 games, Colabello is batting .379 with four home runs and 14 RBI.
Toronto’s Josh Donaldson homered for the fourth straight game, a three-run shot off Trevor May in the fifth that tied the game. Donaldson is batting .400 with 16 RBI in 20 career games against the Twins.
Buehrle was the real powerhouse, though.
After Brian Dozier hit his first pitch for a double, Joe Mauer tacked on a RBI single, Torii Hunter added a RBI double and Kurt Suzuki pitched in a RBI single before a sacrifice fly by Eduardo Escobar. Then Buehrle went to work.
"That’s what I like to call a bulldog. I came in the middle of the ninth there and I saw him staying loose and I just told him I loved him, because that’s a pretty epic outing," Colabello said. "That’s a character outing."
Said Minnesota’s Trevor Plouffe: "You’ve got to tip your cap to a guy like that that can stay in there. I think someone was warming up in the first inning, and he ended up going a complete game. The guy’s a great pitcher."
Rainy day: The first pitch was pushed back an hour, the second time setback this week for the Twins. Because of afternoon starts and the delays, they haven’t taken pregame batting practice on the field in a week. Still, this was only the 16th weather delay in Target Field’s six-year history. They have had 11 games postponed and one suspended.
Trainer’s room: RHP Casey Fien (shoulder) came off the DL to pitch a scoreless eighth. Molitor said Blaine Boyer will remain the primary setup man for now.
Up next: Aaron Sanchez (4-4, 3.98 ERA) will make his 10th start of the season for Toronto on Saturday afternoon, seeking his second win in five road starts. Kyle Gibson (4-3, 2.72 ERA) will take the mound for Minnesota for the 10th time this year, too, coming of a career-long-matching eight innings in an 8-1 victory at Chicago last week. Gibson is 3-1 with a 1.32 ERA this month.