MINNEAPOLIS -- It was the kind of win the Twins are hoping can get them out of their season-long rut and give the team some much-needed confidence going forward.
Minnesota entered the eighth with one hit and trailed by two runs, but rallied for five runs as Danny Santana tied the game with a two-run double and Eduardo Nunez crushed a go-ahead three-run blast in a 5-3 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday at Target Field. It snapped a five-game losing streak for the Twins, who had lost eight consecutive games at Target Field dating back to April 26.
"It was huge," Nunez said. "We're struggling. We know that. It's not a secret. But we're pushing. We have a lot of guys struggling in the lineup at the same time and it's tough. But hopefully it all starts today."
The rally started with a pair of unlikely heroes getting it done, as Robbie Grossman, who made his Twins debut on Friday, came through with a leadoff single off J.A. Happ. Backup outfielder Darin Mastroianni then drew a walk to put some pressure on Happ. Kurt Suzuki popped up a bunt back to Happ, but Santana connected on a first-pitch fastball for a two-run double down the right-field line.
Reliever Gavin Floyd replaced Happ and promptly plunked Brian Dozier with a pitch to set the stage for Nunez's go-ahead blast that came on a 1-1 sinker that was supposed to be inside, but caught too much of the plate.
"We felt like we were one hit away, and when Robbie got that hit, you could kind of feel it in the dugout we were going to get some runs," Mastroianni said. "All the guys on the team deserve credit because we never gave up. We've had a tough stretch and we didn't give up after Jose [Bautista's] home run. It was just a great win to come back after they pretty much dominated for seven innings."
It was an all-around effort from the Twins, who also received a strong performance from lefty Pat Dean, who gave up two runs over six innings in his first Major League start. Dean didn't factor into the decision, but it marked the fifth time in the past eight games a Twins starter gave up two runs or fewer.
"I think it could definitely give us a spark," Dean said. "Things have been tough for us, but hopefully this win can get us rolling a little bit."
Manager Paul Molitor was a little more guarded about the potential of the win getting his team going, as he noted it won't mean as much without a strong performance from Phil Hughes in the finale opposite Toronto ace Marcus Stroman on Sunday.
"You can always speculate," Molitor said. "You can be hopeful. It sometimes depends on your next starting pitcher. And we have to come back against Stroman to split the series, which will be a tall order. But I know Phil is hungry and ready to go."