Twins lose five-run lead, fall 8-7 to Blue Jays
TORONTO -- Twins manager Paul Molitor would prefer his team play aggressively rather than worrying about making mistakes.
That assertive attitude didn't pay off Saturday.
Melvin Upton Jr. hit an RBI triple past diving outfielder Max Kepler and continued home on a misplay in the eighth inning, completing Toronto's rally from a five-run deficit and lifting the AL East-leading Blue Jays over the Twins 8-7 Saturday.
"There's all different kinds of ways to lose games," Molitor said. "That one was particularly difficult."
The Blue Jays trailed 7-6 in the eighth when Kevin Pillar doubled with one out off Ryan Pressly (6-6). Upton followed with a triple past a diving Max Kepler in right. Kepler slipped and fell, then fumbled the ball away while chasing it down by the wall, allowing Upton to score standing up as a sellout crowd of 47,485 cheered wildly.
"I kind of knew it would be a triple once it got by him," Upton Jr. said, "but rounding second I saw (third base coach Luis Perez) kept waving me and I kept going."
A disappointed Kepler stared into his locker for several minutes before speaking with reporters.
"I made three mistakes," Kepler said. "I take the blame."
Molitor said he had no issue with Kepler's play.
"Max is trying to make a play and get us off the field with a lead and he came up short," Molitor said. "He's trying to do something to help us win."
Sometimes we try to do too much and sometimes we play a little tentative and try not to make a mistake," he added. "I'd rather have to back guys off than to get them going."
Edwin Encarnacion homered and drove in three runs as Toronto handed the Twins their ninth straight loss.
Right-hander Ervin Santana acknowledged that the clubhouse was "a little down" following the defeat.
"At the same time, we have to come tomorrow, erase this game today and then play hard," Santana said.
Jason Grilli (5-3) worked one inning for the win and Roberto Osuna finished for his 29th save.
"A win like that can get some good things going for us," Grilli said.
Manager John Gibbons agreed.
"That was a huge game, falling behind like we did and then to come back," Gibbons said. "A little reminiscent of last year. It was a much-needed win."
Minnesota led 5-0 before the Blue Jays rallied. Encarnacion hit his 36th homer and leads the AL with 105 RBIs.
Plouffe homered for the second straight game. He hadn't connected since July 1 before his first-inning drive Friday night.
Dozier singled and scored on a wild pitch by Marcus Stroman in the first, singled again in the third, then hit a two-run double in Minnesota's four-run fourth.
After Encarnacion homered in the sixth to make it 5-3, Plouffe homered off Bo Schultz in the seventh.
Toronto chased Santana while scoring three times in the seventh. Pressly relieved with the bases loaded and gave up a two-run single to Josh Donaldson. Encarnacion followed with an RBI single off the glove of Plouffe at third.
"Things just snowballed," Molitor said. "You've got a team that's certainly capable of scoring runs in a hurry and got a little momentum."
Dozier's two-run double gave him a career-best 78 RBIs.
The Twins have lost six straight in Toronto. Their last win north of the border was June 11, 2014.
Twins: 1B Joe Mauer returned after missing three games with a sore quadriceps.
Blue Jays: C Russell Martin got the day off. ... 2B Devon Travis returned after missing four games with a sore knuckle on his right ring finger, while OF Michael Saunders was back after missing two games with a sore hamstring. ... Pillar started after being scratched Friday because of flulike symptoms.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (5-8, 5.09) is 1-1 with a 4.42 ERA in three career starts against Toronto.
Blue Jays: RHP R.A. Dickey (9-13, 4.43) has allowed no more than two earned runs in three of his past four starts.