The Minnesota Twins scored a dramatic victory in the series opener and aim to record their fourth consecutive win when they host the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday for the second contest of their four-game set. Byron Buxton belted his first career walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Twins a 3-2 victory, bosltering the club’s bid for the second American League wild-card spot.
Buxton is terrorizing Toronto pitching by going 9-for-17 with four homers in four games, topped by his Aug. 27 performance in which he went 4-for-5 with a career-best three homers. Teammate Jorge Polanco added two RBIs - he is 7-for-18 versus the Blue Jays this season - as Minnesota increased its wild-card lead over the Los Angeles Angels to three games. Toronto All-Star Justin Smoak moved into third place in the AL with his 38th homer, a two-out solo blast in the ninth that forced extra innings. Smoak is just 9-for-45 with two home runs and three RBIs this month.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, Sportsnet (Toronto), FSN North (Minnesota)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays LH J.A. Happ (8-10, 3.73 ERA) vs. Twins RH Bartolo Colon (6-12, 6.41)
Happ is 2-0 over his last three starts and has given up one earned run in each of the outings. The 34-year-old has won five of his last seven decisions after losing eight of his first 11. Happ is 1-4 with a 6.08 ERA in six career appearances (five starts) against the Twins, including a loss on Aug. 25 in which he allowed five runs and eight hits over six innings.
Colon was torched for six runs and six hits over 1 2/3 innings in a loss to Kansas City last time out. The 44-year-old is 4-4 with a 4.69 ERA in 11 outings since joining the Twins and has given up three or fewer runs on seven occasions. Colon is 4-3 with a 4.76 ERA in 11 career starts versus the Blue Jays and is 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA in two outings this year.
1. Twins LF Eddie Rosario recorded his fifth two-hit performance in six games and is 13-for-31 with three homers and nine RBIs during his eight-game hitting streak.
2. Toronto RHP Roberto Osuna rejoined the team after the birth of his child and will be available to pitch on Friday.
3. Minnesota All-Star 3B Miguel Sano (shin) still is sidelined four weeks after being injured but remains hopeful he will return before the end of the regular season.
PREDICTION: Twins 6, Blue Jays 5