Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Brett Lawrie turns a double play on Minnesota Twins Kendrys Morales during sixth inning AL action in Toronto on Monday June 9

Blue Jays edge Twins with walk-off run in ninth

Kevin Pillar had a chat with slugger Jose Bautista as they practised their swings shortly before the Toronto Blue Jays took on the Minnesota Twins on Monday night. Bautista offered some words of encouragement for the backup outfielder and told him to be aggressive at the plate.

TORONTO — Kevin Pillar had a chat with slugger Jose Bautista as they practised their swings shortly before the Toronto Blue Jays took on the Minnesota Twins on Monday night.

Bautista offered some words of encouragement for the backup outfielder and told him to be aggressive at the plate.

It proved to be sage advice.

Pillar hit a one-out flare to right field off Casey Fien that drove in pinch-runner Erik Kratz with the winning run to give the Blue Jays a 5-4 walkoff victory at Rogers Centre.

“It was a slider off the plate and I was just able to nestle it in somewhere,” Pillar said. “And it feels good.”

Earlier in the inning, Pillar made a miscue in left field by diving for Kurt Suzuki’s sinking liner. He couldn’t come up with the ball and it rolled by him, allowing the Twins to move within a run.

Eduardo Escobar followed with a blooper off closer Casey Janssen that landed just inside the left-field line and brought Suzuki home with the tying run.

“Baseball is a weird game,” Pillar said. “You get a chance to make up for a mistake that you made maybe in the previous inning or early in the game. I was fortunate enough to make that happen.”

Edwin Encarnacion had staked Toronto (39-26) to an early lead with a three-run homer in the first inning off Minnesota starter Ricky Nolasco. Jose Reyes added a solo homer in the fifth inning for the Blue Jays, who lead the major leagues with 91 home runs.

With the win, the Blue Jays remained 5 1/2 games ahead of second-place Baltimore in the American League East division standings. The Orioles defeated the Boston Red Sox 4-0 Monday. It was Toronto’s 16th victory in its last 20 games.

“We’ve been playing good baseball but you still need to win some of those games like that,” said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. “For the longest time, everything has been going our way. Tonight things didn’t go our way but we still managed to come out and pull out a nice win.”

Minnesota (29-33) scored a pair of quick runs off Toronto starter R.A. Dickey before many fans had taken their seats on a glorious spring evening. Danny Santana hit his first career leadoff home run and Brian Dozier followed with a rainbow shot just inside the foul pole in left field.

Dickey settled down after that, retiring 11 straight batters at one point before Josh Willingham’s triple in the sixth inning. The Twins loaded the bases but Dustin McGowan came on and got Trevor Plouffe to ground into a double play to end the threat.

Janssen (1-0), who blew his second save of the season, gave up three hits in the ninth inning. With the crowd deflated after the Twins tied the game, Minnesota pitcher Matt Guerrier (0-1) walked Dioner Navarro to open the bottom of the ninth.

Kratz came in to pinch-run, moved to second on a Reyes single and then scored with room to spare.

“You walk the leadoff guy, you give yourself pretty much a mess and anything can happen after that,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.

Just Posted

Man badly injured in off-road vehicle collision on Saturday

Incident happened in Mountain View County about 10:50 p.m.

Heat warning in effect for Central Alberta

Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for Central Alberta. Residents in… Continue reading

Alberta’s debt clock on the road to drive home fiscal message

Canadian Taxpayers Federation raising concerns about Alberta’s $45 billion debt

Red Deer’s Ryan Vandervlis out of intensive care, able to communicate

An Alberta player with the Western Hockey League who was seriously burned… Continue reading

Trump-Putin summit opens without talk of election meddling

HELSINKI — With a wink and a slouch, respectively, President Donald Trump… Continue reading

CFIA inspects after video shows pigs crammed into B.C. transport truck

The video shows pigs piled on top of one another in a transport truck on a “sweltering” hot day last week

Croatia gears up to give heroes’ welcome to World Cup team

ZAGREB, Croatia — Fans are pouring in from throughout the country as… Continue reading

Statelessness a hurdle for some rescued Thai boy

MAE SAI, Thailand — The 12 boys and coach of the Wild… Continue reading

Lobbying commissioner rejects complaints against firearms panel member

OTTAWA — A federal watchdog has dismissed complaints that a mass-shooting survivor… Continue reading

CREA reports June home sales down 10.7% from year ago, but up from May

OTTAWA — The Canadian Real Estate Association says the number of homes… Continue reading

Red Deer Royals place second at Calgary Stampede parade

Royals depicted life in forest and portrayed destruction by human beings

Muslim candidates running in record numbers face backlash

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A liberal woman of colour with zero name recognition… Continue reading

Former UK Cabinet secretary seeks new Brexit referendum

LONDON — A former U.K. Cabinet minister from the ruling Conservative Party… Continue reading

Man killed by Chicago police ran away, reached for waist

CHICAGO — A man killed by Chicago police had a gun in… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month