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.

Game notes

Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion leads the Blue Jays with 20 homers this season. Shortstop Jose Reyes now has four homers this year. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier has 13 home runs while Santana has gone deep twice. … Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey allowed five hits, two earned runs, two walks and had three strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. … Minnesota starter Ricky Nolasco allowed seven hits, four earned runs and a pair of walks. He had six strikeouts. …Twins DH Kendrys Morales signed a one-year, prorated contract Sunday. The Cuban slugger hit .277 with 23 homers and 80 RBIs with Seattle last season. … The Twins have hit four leadoff home runs this season.

— The Canadian Press

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 hometown 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."

Twins sign 5th overall pick Nick Gordon

The Minnesota Twins signed Nick Gordon on Monday, just four days after selecting the shortstop with the fifth overall pick in the first-year player draft.

He will get the signing bonus value assigned to his draft slot: $3,851,000 US.

Gordon, who played at Olympia High School in Orlando, Fla., will report to minicamp at the team's minor league facility in Fort Myers, before heading to Tennessee to join the Elizabethton Twins, the rookie-level team in the Appalachian League that starts its season June 19.

Gordon's father, Tom Gordon, was a three-time all-star pitcher who played for eight major league teams over 21 seasons.

The six-foot-two, 170-pound Nick Gordon is a left-handed hitter with a strong arm who batted .494 as a senior for Olympia with 27 runs batted in, 17 extra-base hits and 13 steals in 99 plate appearances and committed to Florida State.

— The Associated Press

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.

Pillar, who entered the game in the ninth as a defensive replacement for Melky Cabrera, said his defensive miscue was on his mind when he came to the plate. Thinking about his chat with Bautista, Pillar swung and missed the first two times before making contact.

"It's a huge roller-coaster of emotions right there," he said. "I guess that's baseball. There's a lot of ups and downs. You have to find a way to get back centred and deal with the task at hand."