« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Dave Campbell / AP Sports Writer, Published May 10 2012

Alvarez pitches Jays past Twins

MINNEAPOLIS – Henderson Alvarez pitched seven strong innings to win his third straight start for the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-2 over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.

Alvarez (3-2) stretched his scoreless streak to 17 innings before second baseman Kelly Johnson’s throwing error allowed the Twins to score in the third. Josh Willingham hit a home run in the sixth, but the 22-year-old Venezuelan didn’t give up any more than that. He allowed seven hits and three walks while striking out two, and one of those runs was unearned.

Yunel Escobar scored three times and hit four singles, and Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie each drove in two runs against Jason Marquis (2-2), the second veteran Twins starter in two nights to complete only four innings – following Carl Pavano’s early exit.

Marquis allowed seven hits and six runs – five earned – while walking three and striking out two.

The Twins watched their majors-worst record fall to 8-23, and this was another wince-worthy performance. No sequence was more exemplary of a sputtering team than in the fourth inning, when Encarnacion hit a seemingly harmless two-out pop-up in front of the plate with two runners on.

Catcher Ryan Doumit never saw it, as if the ball were lost in the faded beige roof the Twins used to play under at the Metrodome before they moved to the open air at Target Field. Marquis crept forward, looking like he figured Doumit would take it – until realizing otherwise. Marquis hustled toward the ball was close to position for the catch until hesitating at the last second, when third baseman Trevor Plouffe appeared to call him off.

The ball fell between them and bounced on the grass as Escobar raced home to stretch the lead to 6-1.

The Twins have made a flurry of roster moves in the last 10 days, sending third baseman Danny Valencia and taking lefty Francisco Liriano out of the rotation most recently, prompting manager Ron Gardenhire to sum the decisions up like this: “We need some life in here.”

They didn’t show much of that while Alvarez was on the mound.

Coming off his first career shutout last week against the Los Angeles Angels, Alvarez got the Twins to hit ground ball after ground ball just when he needed it. They hit into three double plays and almost had a fourth.

Alvarez helped himself, too, on a scorcher sent back to the mound by Doumit in the second. Alvarez reached down to grab it like and turned to throw for the out.

Toronto Minnesota

ab r h bi ab r h bi

KJhnsn 2b 5 1 1 0 Span cf 3 0 1 0

YEscor ss 4 3 4 0 Dozier ss 4 0 1 0

Bautist rf 3 0 0 0 Mauer 1b 3 0 0 0

Encrnc dh 4 1 1 2 Wlngh dh 3 1 1 1

Thams lf 4 0 0 1 Doumit c 4 0 0 0

Lawrie 3b 4 1 2 2 Plouffe 3b 4 0 1 0

Rasms cf 3 0 2 1 Komats rf 3 0 2 0

Lind 1b 4 0 0 0 Mstrnn lf 3 0 0 0

Arencii c 4 0 0 0 ACasill 2b 3 1 1 0

Totals 35 6 10 6 Totals 30 2 7 1

Toronto 203 100 000— 6

Minnesota 001 001 000— 2

E—K.Johnson (6), H.Alvarez (1). DP—Toronto 3. LOB—Toronto 8, Minnesota 4. 2B—Rasmus (4). HR—Willingham (7). SB—Encarnacion (5). CS—Y.Escobar (1). SF—Thames.

IP H R ER BB SO

Toronto

H.Alvarez W,3-2 7 7 2 1 3 2

L.Perez 1 0 0 0 0 2

Frasor 1 0 0 0 0 2

Minnesota

Marquis L,2-2 4 7 6 5 3 2

Swarzak 3 2 0 0 0 3

Perkins 1 0 0 0 1 3

Gray 1 1 0 0 0 1

HBP—by Marquis (Bautista). WP—Marquis, Gray. PB—Doumit.

T—2:45. A—31,438 (39,500).