Blue Jays bust out the beer-league bats in 13-2 win over Liriano, Twins
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The pitcher-friendly Target Field was no match for the Toronto Blue Jays' bomb squad on Thursday night.
Jose Bautista's seventh-inning grand slam off Pat Neshek was the death knell in the Jays' 13-2 win over the Minnesota Twins. The home run -- which landed in the third deck in left field -- was Bautista's MLB-leading 53rd of the season.
Bautista added a solo blast in the ninth inning off Jose Mijares for his 54th.
"It's a different atmosphere when you get to the playoffs, but it's not fun (right now)," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's not the way you want to go into it, pitching like this and getting beat around. If you're competitive at all, which we are very competitive, and you all know you go through things, but it's not fun.
"It's not fun for anybody in here. It's something that does happen. These guys, we knew that coming in, they can do it with the best of them. But it's still not fun. I don't know if I'd call it irritating, but you can, because it's irritating."
Francisco Liriano was roughed up in his last start of the regular season. Edwin Encarnacion put the Blue Jays up 2-0 with a two-run homer off Liriano in the top of the second inning, and he added a solo homer in the fifth to make it 3-0. Jose Molina followed immediately with a solo blast of his own, giving the Jays a 4-0 cushion.
Liriano later allowed an RBI double by John Buck in the top of the sixth inning before being pulled from the game. The left-hander allowed five earned runs on six hits and a walk while striking out six in 5 1/3 innings.
Coming into the game, Liriano had allowed just six home runs all season.
With six home runs on the night, the Blue Jays now have 253 for the season, which is the fourth-highest total in major league history behind the 1997 Seattle Mariners (264), the 2005 Texas Rangers (260) and the 1996 Baltimore Orioles (257).
Blue Jays starter Shawn Hill coasted through four hitless innings before running into trouble in the fifth inning. He allowed a one-out double to Danny Valencia, an RBI single to Drew Butera, and another single to Denard Span. Hill was then pulled when his pitch count rose above 90.
RHP Carl Pavano (17-11, 3.83) is scheduled to face LHP Ricky Romero (13-9, 3.79) on Friday night.