TORONTO – Justin Smoak broke out of a slump with five runs-batted in, Russell Martin also drove in five and Josh Donaldson hit his 30th homer of the season as the Toronto Blue Jays’ offence ignited for a 15-8 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday.
Smoak snapped an 0-for-29 streak with runners in scoring position with a three-run blast in the second inning, then added a run-scoring base hit in the third as the Blue Jays (72-56) moved a game ahead of Boston for the AL East lead and ended a two-game slide. The first baseman picked up his fifth RBI in the seventh.
Martin homered and added a bases-clearing double, Donaldson had three RBI’s in total, and Darwin Barney, who moved up in the lineup in place of an ill Kevin Pillar, had a double, a single and a solo homer.
Kurt Suzuki had three RBIs for the Twins (49-79), Trevor Plouffe and Eddie Rosario each drove in a pair and Max Kepler had a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Francisco Liriano (7-12), facing the team he spent his first seven seasons with, allowed four runs – three earned – over five innings. He also struck out seven and walked four while throwing just 59 of his 102 pitches for strikes.
Pat Dean (1-4) lasted just three innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and a walk.