Hughes pitches 7 shutout innings and Morales clears the bases in win
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TORONTO -- Josh Willingham hit a two-run home run, Phil Hughes struck out a season-high nine to win in Toronto for the first time in almost three years and the Minnesota Twins beat the Blue Jays 7-2 on Wednesday.
Kendrys Morales had three of Minnesota's season-high 16 hits as the Twins improved to 5-2 against Toronto. Morales is 6 for 13 with three RBIs since making his Twins debut on Monday.
Hughes (7-2) allowed seven hits and walked none in seven shutout innings for his first win at Rogers Centre since July 17, 2011, when he played for the New York Yankees. The right-hander is 7-1 with a 2.27 ERA in his past 10 starts.
Back-to-back singles by Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera gave the Blue Jays runners at the corners with nobody out in the sixth, but Hughes didn't buckle. Jose Bautista fouled out and Hughes fanned Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind.
Toronto put runners at the corners with one out in the seventh but Hughes caught pinch hitter Juan Francisco looking, then struck out Reyes.
Willingham hit a two-out homer off rookie Marcus Stroman in the first as the Twins took a 2-0 lead in the opening inning for the third straight game.
Trever Plouffe made it 3-0 with a sacrifice fly in the sixth and the Twins added three more in the seventh against reliever Bobby Korecky. A pair of infield singles and a walk loaded the bases before Morales ripped a three-run double.
Willingham capped it with an RBI single off Brett Cecil in the ninth.
The Blue Jays avoided their fourth shutout in five games with a pair of runs off Jared Burton in the eighth. Bautista hit an RBI double and scored on a single by pinch hitter Dioner Navarro.
Casey Fien got the final four outs for his first save as the Twins improved to 12-6 against AL East opponents.
Stroman (3-1) allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings to lose for the first time in three starts since joining Toronto's rotation on May 31. He walked none and struck out four.
Twins second baseman Brian Dozier left in the bottom of the fourth inning with a sore lower back. Dozier was kneed in the back by shortstop Eduardo Nunez when the two collided while chasing Erik Kratz's bloop double in the second. Eduardo Escobar replaced Dozier, who leads the Twins with 14 home runs.
--Toronto recalled Korecky from Triple-A Buffalo and optioned OF Kevin Pillar to Triple-A.
--Minnesota OF Aaron Hicks (right shoulder) was held out of the starting lineup for a fourth straight game.
--The Twins are off Thursday before beginning a three-game series at Detroit. Twins RH Kyle Gibson (5-5) will face Tigers LH Drew Smyly (3-4).© The Associated Press