Dozier's RBI triple lifts Twins in 3-2 win over Blue Jays
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The early bunch of double plays induced by Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson helped set up Brian Dozier and the bullpen for the strong finish.
The Twins haven't shown any obvious strengths or exceptional skills. They've simply played well together, good enough for one of the best five records in baseball.
Dozier drove in the tiebreaking run with a triple in the seventh inning and Blaine Boyer pitched a perfect ninth for his first save in a 3-2 victory by the Twins over the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 on Saturday, raising their home record to an AL-best 18-7.
Kyle Gibson got the Blue Jays to hit into a double play in each of the first three innings, and the Twins bullpen allowed only one single in 11 batters while striking out four. Ryan Pressly (2-1) picked up the victory with a scoreless seventh.
''We're doing our job, which is fun, but man it's such a good group of guys and everybody's fired up for everybody,'' said Boyer, who has been a boon for the relief group with a 2.19 ERA in 24 appearances.
Aaron Loup (1-3) relieved Aaron Sanchez in the seventh and surrendered a leadoff single to Aaron Hicks before the line drive by Dozier that glanced off diving right fielder Ezequiel Carrera's glove. Dozier moved into second place in the American League with 26 extra-base hits, behind Toronto's Josh Donaldson, whose streak of four straight games with a home run was stopped.
''Sigh of relief,'' Dozier said. ''I thought I was in trouble there, because he has really good speed.''
Gibson was in trouble often, but he leads the majors with 13 double-play groundballs, a skill that sure came in handy against the highest-scoring team in baseball.
After leadoff man Jose Reyes stole second and took third on a throwing error by catcher Chris Herrmann in the third inning, the Blue Jays loaded the bases with one out. Russell Martin hit a bouncer back to the mound for a 1-2-3 double play.
''That's a tough team out there. They really make you work hard,'' said Gibson, who finished the month of May with a 3-1 record and a 1.36 ERA in six starts.
Herrmann made two errors, the first time in nine games the Twins were charged with any fielding flubs, but he homered against Sanchez in the third. Herrmann's second error let the Blue Jays tie the game against Gibson in the sixth, when he tried to throw out Carrera on a crisp sacrifice bunt up the third-base line.
Kevin Pillar answered for the Blue Jays with a solo shot in the fourth, his first home run since the first week of the season, but Trevor Plouffe's RBI double in the fourth put the Twins back in front.
Sanchez, who entered the game as the only starter in the majors who didn't have more strikeouts than walks, pitched well enough to win.
''He just keeps getting better and better every time he goes out there,'' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. ''He'll go through some small spurts now where he scatters it, but for the most part he brings it back into the zone and he's tough to hit.''
NO RUNNING ROOM
Martin threw out two Twins trying to steal, giving him a majors-most 18 this season. Martin said he encourages opponents to keep running against him.
''With that dude's cannon behind the dish, we've got a chance every time out,'' Sanchez said.
Blue Jays: 2B Devon Travis, who's eligible to come off the DL on Monday at Washington, felt stiffness in his shoulder after going 0 for 4 for Triple-A Buffalo on Friday in his rehab assignment. He was being held out of the lineup on Saturday to be safe, Gibbons said.
Twins: Glen Perkins, who gave up a go-ahead, two-run homer to Chris Colabello the night before, told the coaching staff his arm didn't feel fresh after playing pre-game catch, so manager Paul Molitor made Boyer the temporary closer as a precaution. He said Perkins should be available on Sunday.
Ricky Nolasco will pitch for the Twins in the series finale, having won each of his five starts since recovering from elbow inflammation and returning from the DL. The Blue Jays will send Drew Hutchison to the mound, fresh from his four-hit, all-singles, no-walk, eight-strikeout shutout of Chicago on Memorial Day.