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Estrada goes eight, Donaldson homers twice as Jays beat Twins

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson hits a home run against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn., on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017.

Brad Rempel/USA Today Sports

Marco Estrada pitched eight efficient innings, Josh Donaldson homered twice among his four hits and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Minnesota Twins 7-2 on Saturday night.

Minnesota's loss clinched the AL Central for the Cleveland Indians and gave teams a chance to gain on the Twins for the final AL wild card. Minnesota entered the day two games ahead of the Angels.

Estrada (9-8) allowed two solo homers and extended his string of allowing three earned runs or fewer to nine of his last 11 outings.

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Jose Bautista ended his 0-for-17 skid with three hits and an RBI for Toronto.

Donaldson gave the Blue Jays a lead in the first by sending a first-pitch shot off Adalberto Mejia (4-6) into the second deck in left-centre.

Making his first start since a biceps injury last month sidelined him for 35 games, Mejia seemed to recover after Donaldson's homer and retired eight straight batters. But Donaldson led off the fourth with a single and came around to score on Bautista's single. A batter later, Kendrys Morales drove in Justin Smoak with a single.

Estrada took care of the rest, retiring 12 of his final 15 batters after Eddie Rosario's homer in the fifth, inducing a handful of harmless pop flies. He allowed three hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Matt Dermody pitched a scoreless ninth for Toronto.

The Blue Jays broke it open in the eighth by stringing together four singles and a walk against Trever Hildenberger. Bautista and Morales each had RBIs, and Donaldson scored a run on a throwing error by Brian Dozier to make it 6-1.

Eduardo Escobar led off the eighth with a solo homer, but manager John Gibbons allowed Estrada to finish the inning. Donaldson got the run back with a one-out homer to centre in the ninth.


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Twins: Manager Paul Molitor said the plan is keep Miguel Sano (shin) in Minnesota when the team starts a 10-game trip in New York next week. Molitor added it's possible the first baseman may need to go to New York for a personal reason. "It just hasn't been a great week," the manager said of Sano's slow recovery.


Blue Jays: RHP Joe Biagini (3-10) returns to the mound after throwing a career-high eight innings on Tuesday in a 3-2 win against Baltimore.

Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (10-10) tries to even the four-game series. He last pitched against Toronto on Aug. 27, when he threw 6 2/3 innings and gave up two runs on seven hits in Minnesota's 7-2 victory.

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