Tulowitzki lifts Toronto over Twins in extras

Tulowitzki lifts Toronto over Twins in extras

A two-out single off the bat of Troy Tulowitzki was enough to lift the Toronto Blue Jays to a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins in 11 innings Thursday at Target Field.

Tulowitzki’s single off Twins reliever Fernando Abad drove in pinch runner Ezequeil Carrera from second base to put Toronto on top. The Blue Jays had previously rallied from an early 2-0 deficit thanks to a two-run home run from Edwin Encarnacion in the sixth inning that helped set up extras.

With the win, Toronto (20-23) snapped a season-high five-game losing streak. The loss was the fourth in a row for Minnesota (10-30), which dropped to 20 games below .500. The Twins are now tied with the Atlanta Braves for the worst record in the majors.

Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada allowed two runs, including one earned run, on only three hits in eight innings of work. He also struck out nine Twins batters before giving way to the bullpen, but didn’t factor in the decision. Minnesota managed just four hits — all singles — in the loss.

Twins right-hander Ervin Santana had the longest outing of any Minnesota starting pitcher this year. Santana got through eight innings and allowed just four hits. Only one other Twins starter — Ricky Nolasco — has recorded an out in the eighth inning so far this season. Nolasco did so back on April 26.

The only blip for Santana was a two-run homer off the bat of Encarnacion, who tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the sixth inning. Encarnacion’s two-run shot to the second deck in left field was his seventh home run in 20 career games at Target Field. It drove in Josh Donaldson, who drew a walk one batter before Encarnacion.

Minnesota got on the board in the first inning with an unearned run against Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada. An error by second baseman Jimmy Paredes eventually led to Miguel Sano’s sacrifice fly.

Joe Mauer put the Twins ahead 2-0 with a two-out single to center in the bottom of the third inning. Mauer initially took second base on the play after a throw from center fielder Kevin Pillar, but Mauer was ruled out after Toronto challenged the call. A review showed Mauer was tagged after over-sliding second base, ending the inning.

It was the first time in over a week that Mauer didn’t bat in the leadoff spot. Dozier returned to the top of the Minnesota lineup Thursday, with Mauer moving back down to third.Santana picked up his first victory of the season in his previous start, while Estrada had a streak of three consecutive no-decisions prior to Thursday.

NOTES: The Twins selected the contract of OF Robbie Grossman from Triple-A Rochester. Grossman spent parts of three seasons with the Houston Astros, batting .240 with 11 home runs in 190 major league games. … Minnesota optioned OF Eddie Rosario to Rochester after he hit .209 with 11 RBI in 32 games. … Toronto RF Jose Bautista batted leadoff for the first time since 2010. Bench coach DeMarlo Hale, filling in for suspended manager John Gibbons, said he made the move with the hope of jump-starting the Blue Jays’ offense. Bautista batted third in 41 of Toronto’s first 42 games this year. … The four-game series between the Blue Jays and Twins continues Friday at Target Field. RHP Aaron Sanchez (3-1, 3.29 ERA) gets the start for Toronto. He will be opposed by Minnesota RHP Tyler Duffey (1-2, 1.85 ERA).