Bautista homers twice in losing effort

Bautista homers twice in losing effort

Bautista homers twice in losing effort
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins kept letting Kyle Drabek off the hook, but eventually the team with the worst record in baseball figured out a way to win.

Drabek walked four and allowed three runs in 4 1/3 sloppy innings and the Twins knocked him out in a four-run fifth, overcoming two Jose Bautista homers for a 7-6, rain-delayed victory on Friday night.

After starting the year with two wins and a no-decision, Drabek (2-4) has lost four straight, seeing his control vanish along the way. In his last five starts, he's walked 20 batters and on Friday he needed 109 pitches to get just 13 outs.

"I'm trying to figure it out right now -- really it was my two-seamer today that was just down the whole time. I had to rely on my offspeed tonight," Drabek said. "The two-seamer's always been there for me. Just tonight it wasn't, especially in the first few innings I couldn't seem to get it up."

Manager John Farrell tried to look on the positive side after the game, focusing on Drabek's three scoreless innings after he walked four of the first nine batters he faced.

"The pitch count obviously got him and the four-run fifth turned out to be too much to overcome," Farrell said. "A high number of walks overall tonight and anytime you include those bases on balls with some hits, you're causing some issues for us to work out of."

Drabek's control got him into trouble immediately in the first inning. He walked the bases full with one out, then yielded a two-run single to Ryan Doumit to give the Twins a 2-1 lead.

But Minnesota had a hard time taking further advantage of Drabek's wildness, stranding runners in scoring position in each of the next two innings, before finally breaking through in the fifth.

With the score tied at 2, Drabek gave up a leadoff double to Denard Span. Reliever Carlos Villanueva took over, but issued three more free passes sandwiched around an RBI double by Josh Willingham and a two-run single by former Blue Jays prospect Darin Mastroianni.

At least Bautista showed signs of coming out of a yearlong slump as he clubbed fastballs from Nick Blackburn over the left field wall in the first and sixth innings, giving him seven for the year and nine in nine career games at Target Field. His first homer gave the Blue Jays a short-lived 1-0 lead, and his second blast sparked a three-run rally that knocked Blackburn out of the game.

Eric Thames hit his third homer of the year, a 408-foot blast to center that cut the Toronto deficit to 6-5 in the sixth. But Mastroianni added another run-scoring single in the seventh.

Edwin Encarnacion again brought the Blue Jays within one in the eighth, hitting a solo home run off Glen Perkins to lead off the frame. The Blue Jays then put two on with no outs, but Perkins worked out of it thanks to a double-play ball off the bat of Colby Rasmus and a diving catch by Willingham to end the inning.

Bautista had one last chance in the ninth with the tying run on third base and two outs. Twins closer Matt Capps got ahead on a low strike, then threw a high fastball that Bautista just missed, hitting a moon-scraping pop fly that third baseman Trevor Plouffe caught for the final out of the game.

"[Capps] relies on location and he caught a break [on the low strike]," Bautista said. "Then he made a good pitch to me up in the zone. I probably should have taken it, but I expanded my zone a little bit because of what happened earlier and I swung at a bad pitch and popped up."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he weighed his options when deciding whether to give Bautista a chance at his third home run or pitch to Encarnacion, who hit his 11th home run of the season an inning earlier.

"If we walk [Bautista], one's got two home runs and the other has one home run," Gardenhire said. "If you walk Bautista, he's going to steal second and then you have two guys out there. So you take your chances."

Patrick Donnelly is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.