By Dave Campbell in Minneapolis, The Associated Press
Jorge Polanco had a pair of two-out RBIs and Jose Miranda homered for the Minnesota Twins, who beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-3 behind a stellar bullpen performance on Saturday night.
All-Star Luis Arraez went 3 for 5 with an RBI for the first-place Twins, who kept their two-game lead on Cleveland in the AL Central.
Arraez doubled twice and scored on both of Polanco’s clutch hits — a single in the third inning off Blue Jays starter Mitch White (1-3) and a double in the fifth after White was replaced by Tim Mayza.
Mayza had a painful night, ending with a dislocated non-throwing shoulder. Three batters after surrendering Miranda’s 11th home run to start the sixth, Mayza charged a squeeze bunt that Sandy León dropped down in front of the mound for a single to score the speedy Nick Gordon.
His only chance was to try to scoop the ball in his glove and in the same motion either flip it to the plate or tag Gordon, but he whiffed and whacked Gordon with his fully extended right arm. It bent awkwardly in the collision, causing Mayza to writhe around in the dirt for a few seconds before walking off slowly while clutching his shoulder. Mayza, who’s had a solid season with a 2.88 ERA, is Toronto’s only current left-handed reliever.
Bo Bichette hit a tying two-run homer off Twins starter Dylan Bundy in the fourth inning and an RBI single in the eighth, the only run allowed in five innings by Minnesota’s trade-boosted bullpen.
Jhoan Duran inherited runners at the corners with one out in the eighth and gave up Bichette’s bouncer up the middle, but the right-hander who leads the major leagues in 100 m.p.h. pitches handed Matt Chapman his fourth strikeout of the game on a 101 m.p.h. heater and retired Whit Merrifield on a fielder’s choice grounder to end the inning with a 5-3 lead.
Trevor Megill (3-1) led off the relief parade with a perfect fifth, and newly acquired closer Jorge López finished up with a hitless ninth after blowing his save chance on Friday night in the 6-5 win by the Twins in 10 innings.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went 2 for 5 with a run scored to extend his career-high hitting streak to 17 straight games for the Blue Jays, who lead the AL wild card race. They are three games ahead of Baltimore, the first club below the three-team cut.
The two-time All-Star Guerrero is batting .420 (29 for 69) with eight doubles, three homers and 12 RBIs during his streak.
Blue Jays: CF George Springer landed on the 10-day injured list with lingering inflammation in his right elbow that kept him out of four of the previous five games.
Twins: RF Max Kepler was reinstated from the 10-day injured list, recovered from a broken pinky toe on his right foot. He was hit there by a pitch on July 24.
Blue Jays: RHP Kevin Gausman (8-8, 3.06 ERA) pitches the finale of the four-game series. He threw eight shutout innings with just one hit and one walk allowed in his last start against Tampa Bay.
Twins: RHP Chris Archer (2-5, 4.05 ERA) takes the mound on Sunday afternoon. He had a season-high eight strikeouts in his last turn, but he has failed to finish five innings in four straight outings.
Feature image – Minnesota Twins’ Luis Arraez rounds third base en route to scoring against the Toronto Blue Jays on a single by Jorge Polanco during the third inning of a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn).