TORONTO (AP) — Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer in the first inning, Kevin Pillar singled home the winning run in the ninth and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Minnesota Twins 5-4 on Monday night.
The first two batters of the game homered for the Twins off R.A. Dickey, but Encarnacion’s 20th of the season soon put Toronto ahead.
Jose Reyes added a solo shot for the Blue Jays, who squandered a two-run lead in the top of the ninth and then recovered to avoid their first three-game skid since May 9-11.
Dioner Navarro drew a leadoff walk from Matt Guerrier (0-1) and was replaced by pinch-runner Erik Kratz. Anthony Gose struck out trying to bunt and Casey Fien came on to face Reyes, who singled. Pillar followed with a single to right, and Kratz slid home headfirst ahead of the throw from Oswaldo Arcia.
Casey Janssen (1-0) got the win after blowing his second save.
Newly signed slugger Kendrys Morales made his Twins debut, batting sixth and starting as the designated hitter. He went 1 for 3 with a single and a walk.
Encarnacion erased a 2-0 deficit with a two-out shot off Ricky Nolasco in the first. Baltimore’s Nelson Cruz, with 21 home runs, is the only other player with 20 this season.
The drive snapped a streak of 18 scoreless innings for the Blue Jays, who were blanked in back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Reyes hit a leadoff shot in the fifth and the Blue Jays boosted their major league-leading home run total to 91.
Minnesota jumped out to an early lead against Dickey when Danny Santana and Brian Dozier hit back-to-back homers in the first. It was the fourth leadoff homer of the season for the Twins and Santana’s first.
Dickey’s stretch of 11 consecutive outs ended when Josh Willingham hit a one-out triple in the sixth. After a hit batter and a walk loaded the bases, Dickey was pulled. Dustin McGowan got Trevor Plouffe to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Minnesota tied it against Janssen in the ninth after second baseman Steve Tolleson couldn’t complete a double play on Plouffe’s one-out grounder to third. Pinch-runner Eduardo Nunez went to second on defensive indifference and scored when Kurt Suzuki’s sinking liner dropped in front of Pillar in left for an RBI double. Eduardo Escobar followed with a tying double into shallow left.
Dickey allowed two runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings. He walked two and struck out three.
Nolasco gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings. He walked two and struck out six.
Morales was called out on strikes in the first, grounded out in the fourth, walked in the sixth and singled in the ninth.
NOTES: Minnesota OF Aaron Hicks (right shoulder) was held out of the starting lineup but came on as a pinch-runner in the ninth. … The Twins signed SS Nick Gordon, the fifth overall pick in last week’s first-year player draft. He’s the son of three-time All-Star pitcher Tom Gordon. … Blue Jays RHP Sergio Santos (elbow) has joined Double-A New Hampshire on a rehab assignment. … Twins RHP Kevin Correia (2-7) faces Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (5-2) on Tuesday.