Kyle Gibson appeared headed for a short outing, and the Minnesota Twins’ playoff outlook looked as shaky as their starting pitcher.
Minnesota’s offence boosted both with a big rally.
Eddie Rosario homered twice, Joe Mauer hit a grand slam and the Twins overcame a five-run deficit to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 13-7 Sunday and maintain control for the second AL wild card.
Minnesota trailed 5-0 in the second inning after Josh Donaldson’s second homer. Rosario and Byron Buxton hit consecutive homers to start the rally as the Twins burst ahead with a seven-run bottom half that included Jorge Polanco’s tiebreaking RBI grounder.
“You never feel like your offence is going to put up 13 runs,” Gibson said. “But that inning kind of had that kind of a feel. You can see early on when the guys have a lot of confidence. Rosie hits that homer and Buck hit that homer. They both walk by me and say, ‘Hey, we got you. Let’s go.”‘
Minnesota pulled away with six runs in the fifth against reliever Chris Rowley. The Twins reopened a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels for the second AL wild card and closed within four games of the Yankees heading into a three-game series at New York that starts Monday.
Gibson (11-10) allowed five runs, three hits and five walks in six innings while tying a season high with eight strikeouts to help the Twins gain a four-game split.
Minnesota manager Paul Molitor nearly took out Gibson early.
“There was one pitch away a couple of times,” Molitor said. “It’s hard to explain a beginning like that. Of all the things he’s done, this one’s, in some ways, is maybe a little more impressive to give us six innings after that start.”(AP)