Flying high: Blue Jays soar to 5th straight win

Flying high: Blue Jays soar to 5th straight win

TORONTO -- Edwin Encarnacion went deep for the second straight night and Ben Revere had a breakout game at the plate to help the Blue Jays complete a four-game sweep of the Twins in a 9-3 victory at Rogers Centre on Thursday night.

The Blue Jays jumped ahead to an early 1-0 lead in the first and continued to pile on as they drove Twins starter Kyle Gibson from the game in a four-run fifth to register their eighth win in their last nine games.

Trevor Plouffe and Aaron Hicks went deep in reply for Minnesota, but the Twins couldn't muster any more offense as they watched their losing streak reach five games.

Revere, who entered the game 2-for-16 since joining the Blue Jays, followed up his two-hit performance Wednesday with a 3-for-4 showing at plate in the series finale, scoring three runs. Mark Buehrle earned the win for the Blue Jays, delivering a seven-inning outing. He gave up three earned runs on five hits to help Toronto pull three games ahead of Minnesota in the American League Wild Card race. Blue Jays starters have now allowed three earned runs or less in 11 straight games.

Buehrle earns 12th win

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Explosive inning: Already up, 4-1, the Blue Jays put the game on ice in the fifth. Every Toronto batter came to the plate as the home team tallied four runs on four hits. It marked the 39th time this season they've scored four or more runs in an inning.

"You've got that feel every day when you come to the field, who's next, no matter if it's a rookie pitching or a guy that's been around for a while, you've got that feel of whose butt are we going to kick today," Buehrle said.

Bautista's RBI double

Plouffe goes deep: The Twins couldn't get much going against Buehrle, but Plouffe smacked a two-run homer in the fourth to bring the Twins within two runs. It was his 15th homer of the season and came on a 1-1 cutter. But it wasn't enough for the Twins, who have lost 10 of 12.

"I think right now it doesn't feel good at all," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It's how you get there and we're going the wrong way. Coming out of Spring Training, and you hear .500 in August, you might've had some optimism there, but you just have to take a step back. I'm not feeling too good about it myself. And I don't think the players are. I think the frustration is continuing."

Plouffe's two-run shot

Encarnacion's eclipsing shot: After his RBI double in the first, Encarnacion went deep for the second game in a row with a two-run shot to left field in the third inning, increasing the Blue Jays' lead to 4-0. He's reached base safely in 14 consecutive games, and has 18 hits with 10 walks over that span. The Toronto slugger is on a nine-game hitting streak.

"I think he's been getting caught up in what's going on right now," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Encarnacion's hot streak, which has coincided with the team's strong stretch since the Trade Deadline.

Gibbons on Blue Jays' 9-3 win

Gibson turns in clunker: Gibson has been Minnesota's most consistent starter this year, and his season-high in runs allowed was six entering Thursday. But he surpassed that mark, tying a career-worst by surrendering eight runs on nine hits and three walks over 4 2/3 innings. It caused his ERA to rise from 3.37 to 3.78.

"You know what kind of lineup they have," Gibson said. "Looking back on it, the one thing I didn't establish was the inside fastball inside all. It's something I wanted to do and needed to do. You can't put yourself in situations where you have to throw it out over the plate."

QUOTABLE
"There's just a different feeling. I felt the same way in '05 when we [the White Sox] won the World Series, there were times when we'd be down two runs in the seventh inning and it was like, 'We don't care, we're going to win this game, somehow we're going to find a way to win this game,' and we do. I don't know if it's the guys we brought in here, or the way we're playing right now, it's just that feeling that if we get down two runs in the first or second inning, just try to hold the other team down because we know we're going to score runs, especially with this offence, we can put up a bunch of runs. It's kind of hard to explain, it's just a special feeling." -- Buehrle on the Blue Jays increasingly hot play

"Not too many teams are going to beat that team over there. The way they hit the ball is unbelievable. When they hit the ball it sounds like car crashes. I think they're one of the best teams in baseball offensively." -- Torii Hunter on the Blue Jays

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
At 54-54, The Twins dropped to .500 for the first time since May 2, when they were 12-12. Their five-game losing streak is tied for a season-worst. More >

Pillar with another stellar grab
Kevin Pillar can add another highlight to his ever-expanding reel of eye-popping catches. The Blue Jays centre fielder went all out to rob Minnesota's Miguel Sano of extra bases with two away in the eighth inning. More >

Pillar's amazing catch

"That's just the way I play. That's the way I've always played," Pillar said. "That's the way my dad taught me how to play since I was a little kid. There's a time and a place. If you're going to put yourself at risk with a big lead like that, you have to pick and choose your spots."

WHAT'S NEXT
Twins: The Twins head to Cleveland for a three-game series that begins on Friday at 6:10 p.m. CT. Right-hander Mike Pelfrey is set to start the series opener coming off a strong performance, tossing eight scoreless innings against the Mariners on Sunday.

Blue Jays: R.A. Dickey will take the mound as the Blue Jays open a crucial three-game American League East series against the Yankees at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday in New York. The 40-year-old knuckleballer has found his groove lately, allowing two earned runs or fewer in five straight outings.

Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.