Baseball

Jays christen Target Field with 6 homers

Jose Bautista hit an eye-popping grand slam in the seventh and added an opposite-field dinger in the ninth, among the six home runs for Toronto in their first visit to Target Field in Minnesota.

Bautista hits 2 HRs, including grand slam

Jose Bautista hit an eye-popping grand slam in the seventh inning, one of six home runs for the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday in their first visit to Target Field in Minnesota.

Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion each hit a pair of homers, with Jose Molina and Travis Snider also going deep in the 13-2 victory over the Twins.

Bautista entered the night in an 0-for-20 slump but cleared the bases with a blast that landed in the third deck of left field in the seventh to make it 9-2.

For good measure, Bautista hit his first opposite-field home run this season in the ninth inning. Bautista, playing first base Thursday, now has 54 home runs and 124 runs-batted-in this season.

"I never get tired of seeing them," Jays manager Cito Gaston said.

Toronto now has hit 253 home runs, the fourth-highest total ever in major league history. Only the 1997 Seattle Mariners (264), the 2005 Texas Rangers (260) and the 1996 Baltimore Orioles (257)  have hit more in one year.

Should Encarnacion manage to get two more homers before season's end, the Jays would have seven players with 20 or more. That would tie a record held by several teams.

"Balls have been flying out of any stadium for us all year long," Bautista said.

Blue Jays starter Shawn Hill held the Twins without a hit through four innings before getting into a bit of trouble in the fifth. The Georgetown, Ont., native yielded three hits and one earned run in 4 2/3 innings.

Brian Tallet, Robert Ray, Casey Janssen, David Purcey and Taylor Buchholz relieved for Toronto (83-76), helping limit Minnesota to just four hits.

The Twins have locked up a playoff berth with the American League Central title but are sputtering just before the playoffs. Minnesota has given up 61 runs in the last seven games.

"It's a different atmosphere when you get to the playoffs, but it's not fun [right now]," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's not the way you want to go into it, pitching like this and getting beat around."

Francisco Liriano (14-10) took the loss for the Twins. Liriano will be Minnesota's Game 1 starter next week when the team hosts either Tampa Bay or New York in the playoffs.

Encarnacion got things started with a two-run homer to the opposite field in right and then gave Toronto a 3-0 lead with a 419-foot blast into the trees behind the centre-field fence in the fifth. It was just the sixth home run to clear the centre-field fence at Target Field this season.

With files from The Associated Press