MINNEAPOLIS – Nelson Cruz had two hits and two RBIs for Minnesota, helping Jake Odorizzi and the Twins beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 following a 54-minute rain delay Wednesday night.
Off to a solid start in his first season with Minnesota, the 38-year-old Cruz had an RBI single in the first inning and an RBI double in the third. After walking in the fifth, he scored on a single by Marwin Gonzalez. Cruz twice drove in Jorge Polanco, who had two hits and is batting .429.
Odorizzi (1-2) won for the first time in four starts this season, striking out six in 5 2/3 innings. He allowed six hits, one run and one walk, but he threw 101 pitches on a chilly evening, so manager Rocco Baldelli summoned Adalberto Mejia to get the last out of the sixth with a runner on first.
Mejia and Taylor Rogers each allowed just one baserunner, setting up Blake Parker for his fourth save with a perfect ninth inning. Mejia blew Minnesota’s 3-1 lead Monday night, allowing four runs in the eighth inning of the 5-3 loss.
Blue Jays starter Trent Thornton (0-2) had similar trouble in the first, allowing four of the first five Twins to reach base before settling in and lasting until recording the first two outs in the fifth. Thornton gave up six hits, four runs and three walks while striking out three.
Justin Smoak had an RBI single for the Blue Jays, putting him on base in 14 of the 15 games he’s played in this year.
The attendance was announced at 11,465, the lowest figure in Target Field’s 10-year history, though the actual presence of people was far less than that. The four smallest crowds have come in the last four games.
This was the 44th game delayed by weather since the ballpark opened in 2010. There have been 24 postponed games, one suspended game continued the following day and one shortened game.
Though the crowd sizes have had more to do with the home team averaging more than 90 losses per season over the past eight years, the attendance was further diminished by this rainy day and 44-degree temperature at first pitch. Including their postponement of the game Friday after a snowstorm, the Twins had a majors-most six days off over the first 20 days of the season. With the lunchtime start looming in the series finale, every effort was going to be made to get this game in.
“We have a lot of months where we have two or three days off over the course of the month. To use those days as added games is something we’d prefer not to do,” Baldelli said, adding: “But we will figure it out and whatever we’re told we’re going to do, we’ll make it work. Our guys don’t complain very much about anything.”
Blue Jays: RHP Ryan Tepera tested his inflamed elbow before the game, having joined the team following his last rehab outing for Triple-A Buffalo on Sunday, but manager Charlie Montoyo told reporters the team was not yet ready to activate the reliever from the injured list.
Twins: 3B Miguel Sano was sent to the team’s training facility in Fort Myers, Florida, to ramp up his recovery from a severe cut on his right heel suffered on Jan. 25. After about two weeks of full-speed baseball activity, Baldelli said, Sano will start playing in minor league games.
The Blue Jays will send RHP Clay Buchholz (0-0, 1.50 ERA) to the mound in the matinee on Thursday, with RHP Michael Pineda (2-0, 3.00 ERA) pitching for the Twins to finish the four-game series.