TORONTO (AP) — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. connected for his major league-leading 46th homer, but Jorge Polanco, Josh Donaldson, and Miguel Sanó hit consecutive homers as the Minnesota Twins beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-3 Friday night.
“When we score, we tend to score in bunches, and we were able to do that again tonight,” Donaldson said after denting his former team’s postseason hopes.
The Blue Jays slipped into the third spot in the AL wild-card race, one game behind Boston and a half-game behind the Yankees — Toronto has played 147 games, the Yankees have played 148, and the Red Sox 149.
Toronto fell to 13-3 in September.
Guerrero hit a solo homer in the third that cut the deficit to 6-3. He was tied with Kansas City’s Salvador Perez for the homer lead going into the game.
Guerrero matched Joe DiMaggio (1937) for the second-most home runs in a season by a player aged 22 or younger. Eddie Mathews hit 47 in 1953.
Twins right-hander Michael Pineda (7-8) pitched 5 2-3 innings to win his third straight start, allowing three runs and three hits. Pineda is 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA in September after going 0-3 with a 5.88 ERA in August.
“He’s a pitcher through and through,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It’s in his blood. He knows how to get through major league lineups, period.”
Jorge Alcala worked 1 1-3 innings, Tyler Duffey struck out the side in the eighth and Alex Colomé finished in the ninth as Minnesota won for the second time in six games.
After giving up seven runs in 2 1-3 innings against lowly Baltimore in his previous outing, Blue Jays left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu (13-9) couldn’t make it past the third again, leaving after allowing four straight hits.
The last of those hits were the homers by Polanco, his 31st, and Donaldson, his 23rd. Ryu is 2-4 with an 8.10 ERA in his past eight starts. It was the shortest start of his Toronto career.
“When it comes to Ryu, it’s all about his command,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “When he’s really good, he commands all his pitches. Right now, he’s having a struggle with his command, so he’s leaving a lot of pitches over the heart of the plate.”
Ross Stripling relieved and gave up Sanó’s homer on his fourth pitch. The homer was Sanó’s 29th.
Reinstated from the paternity list before the game, Minnesota’s Brent Rooker hit an RBI double off Ryu in the second and homered off Julian Merryweather in the sixth.
“Our offense came out banging,” Baldelli said
Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons didn’t travel to Canada with the team because of a visa issue and was placed on the restricted list. Manager Rocco Baldelli said Simmons is in the midst of applying for permanent residency in the United States, meaning he is unable to cross the border. He’ll rejoin the team in Chicago next week for a series against the Cubs.
Polanco started at shortstop and made two throwing errors in the second, leading to a pair of unearned runs, but redeemed himself with his two-run homer in the third.
THREE OF A KIND
Minnesota hit three straight homers for the 10th time in franchise history. They last did it April 26, 2019, against Baltimore when Nelson Cruz, Eddie Rosario and C.J. Cron went deep.
Donaldson got a standing ovation before his first-inning at bat. He tipped his batting helmet to the crowd and acknowledged applause from the Toronto dugout.
“I can’t lie,” Donaldson said. “It’s nice to get back here and play in front of these fans and in this stadium where I have so many good memories.”
Donaldson won the AL MVP award with the Blue Jays in 2015 and helped Toronto reach the ALCS that season and the following year. Traded to Cleveland in 2018, he returned to Rogers Centre with Atlanta in 2019.
GOT YOUR NUMBER
The Twins have won nine of their past 12 meetings with the Blue Jays, including eight straight in Toronto.
Blue Jays: RHP José Berríos will start Sunday’s series finale against his former team, Montoyo said. Berríos pitched through soreness in his left side for several innings Tuesday against the Rays, but reported no lingering effects. … RHP Alek Manoah will get six days of rest before his next start, Tuesday at Tampa Bay. The rookie has pitched 93 innings this year. His single-season high at any level is 108 1-3 innings as a college junior at West Virginia.
Twins: Baldelli said RHP Joe Ryan is not expected to go on the injured list after being struck on the wrist by a batted ball Tuesday. Baldelli said Ryan may get an extra day of rest before his next start. … C Mitch Garver (lower back tightness) went 0 for 2 with a walk in a five-inning rehab appearance with Triple-A St. Paul.
The Twins selected RHP Nick Vincent from Triple-A and optioned LHP Andrew Albers to their top farm team.
Blue Jays LHP Steven Matz (12-7, 3.87) starts Saturday afternoon against Twins RHP Bailey Ober (2-2, 4.12). Matz is 3-0 with a 2.65 ERA in his past six starts.
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