Twins, Hughes take series against Blue Jays with 7-2 win
TORONTO -- Kendrys Morales and Josh Willingham each drove in three runs and Phil Hughes pitched seven shutout innings as the Minnesota Twins defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 7-2 on Wednesday.
The Twins (31-33) took the three-game series by winning two in a row after dropping the opener. The Blue Jays (39-28) have lost four of their past five games, including three shutouts, but still lead the American League East.
Hughes (7-2) held the Blue Jays to seven hits and no runs while striking out a season-best nine.
The Twins right-hander had runners at the corners with none out in the sixth and with one out in the seventh and worked out of the jams each time
Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman (3-1) allowed nine hits, including a two-run homer by Willingham in the first, and three runs in six innings in taking his first major league loss.
The Twins continued their trend of first-inning homers when Willingham, their left fielder, hit a slider to left for his fifth homer of the season. It scored center fielder Danny Santana, who led off the game with a single.
The Twins had homers from Santana and second baseman Brian Dozier in the first game won 5-4 by Toronto and had a two-run homer by Dozier in their 4-0 win on Tuesday.
Dozier was 0-for-2 in Wednesday's game before leaving in the fourth inning with lower back tightness. He collided with shortstop Eduardo Nunez on a bloop double by Blue Jays catcher Erik Kratz in the second inning. Eduardo Escobar took over at second base in the fourth.
The Twins scored again in the sixth. Morales, the designated hitter, continued to surge after being signed on Sunday when he led off with a double. Right fielder Oswaldo Arcia singled to right sending Morales to third. Third baseman Trevor Plouffe hit a sacrifice fly to right to put the Twins into a 3-0 lead.
Catcher Kurt Suzuki singled off the right field fence but was thrown out at second by Jose Bautista, a call that withstood a challenge by the Twins.
Morales drove in three runs with a double in the seventh against right-handed reliever Bobby Korecky to put the Twins into a 6-0 lead. It scored Santana, who led off with an infield single, Escobar, who bunted for a single, and first baseman Joe Mauer, who walked as part of a three-hit game.
The Blue Jays, who were shut out 4-0 on Tuesday, broke through with two runs against right-handed reliever Jared Burton in the eighth.
Left fielder Melky Cabrera led off with a walk and scored on a double by Bautista. First baseman Adam Lind singled and pinch hitter Dioner Navarro hit a two-out, RBI single.
Willingham singled in a run in the ninth against left-hander Brett Cecil.
Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes extended his hit streak to 12 games with a sixth-inning infield single.