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Josh Donaldson hits three homers as Toronto Blue Jays sweep Minnesota Twins

By Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange
Josh Donaldson hits three homers as Toronto Blue Jays sweep Minnesota Twins
Toronto Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson hit his third home run of the game in the eighth inning of the Toronto Blue Jays' 9-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins and hats came fluttering down onto the field.

In hockey terms, Donaldson had scored a hat trick. When Edwin Encarnacion hit three homers in a game last August, the Rogers Centre crowd reacted the same way.

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"It's nice," Donaldson said of the three-homer game. "It's kind of one of those things as a baseball player you want to have it happen one day and you don't know if it's ever going to happen. It's a rare thing and I was happy to do it."

He said he did not know what he might do with the hats.

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Donaldson's second homer of the game was a two-run shot that put Toronto into a 6-5 lead during the four-run seventh.

His home run in the eighth gave him the first three-homer game of his career and down came the hats.

"We saw it for Eddie when he did it," said Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey who pitched six innings to a no-decision. "It's neat. I think it's unique to this area so it's really cool."

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Troy Tulowitzki also homered for the Blue Jays.

It was the 10th loss in a row for the Twins (49-81) while the Blue Jays (74-56), who overcame a 5-1 disadvantage Sunday, remain at the top of the American League East.

Toronto reliever Scott Feldman (7-4) pitched two-thirds of an inning to pick up the win.

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Twins reliever Pat Light (0-1) allowed three hits and three runs over 1 1/3 innings to take the loss.

"As for Toronto, we all know what they did last year and the offensive team that they have when they get going," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Donaldson's back on track. ... He wasn't swinging as well when we saw them earlier in the year, but he's got it back on track."

Donaldson fouled a ball off his knee cap the first inning and manager John Gibbons told him if it continued to bother him, he would remove him from the game.

"It felt like I'd just been shot in the knee," Donaldson said. "As I gave it a little time and our training staff was able to work on it, it progressed throughout the game."

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Twins starter Kyle Gibson allowed eight hits, three walks and four runs while striking out one in 5 1/3 innings.

Dickey allowed six hits, three walks and five runs (three earned) in six innings. He struck out five.

The Blue Jays scored a run in the first on Encarnacion's sacrifice fly. It scored Jose Bautista, who led off with a double, his first of three hits, on a drive deep to left center. Left fielder Robbie Grossman appeared to have caught the ball but it was jarred loose when he collided with center fielder Danny Santana.

Santana had a sprained left shoulder and Eddie Rosario took over in center field in the second.

Minnesota scored an unearned run in the third. Rosario singled and was safe at second on Donaldson's throwing error on a forceout attempt on Brian Dozier's grounder. Joe Mauer walked. The run scored when Max Kepler's grounder deflected off Dickey's foot to second baseman Devon Travis, who got the forceout at second.

Donaldson's first homer of the game in the bottom of the third gave Toronto a 2-1 lead.

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"He's a challenge," Gibson said. "There's a reason he's an MVP looking for back-to-back. ... I thought I threw a couple pitches right down the middle thigh high that he really didn't even move his hands on. Whether he was looking off speed or just his pitch recognition and plate discipline is really good. That's why he's such a good hitter and puts the barrel on the ball quite a bit."

The Twins led 5-2 after a four-run fifth. Trevor Plouffe hit an RBI single and took second on a passed ball. Miguel Sano hit a two-run single.

Tulowitzki led off Toronto's two-run sixth with his 22nd homer of the season. Kevin Pillar doubled and Travis singled.

Bautista led off seventh with a single against Light and Donaldson hit his second homer of the game to center to give Toronto the lead. It was his fourth multi-homer game of the season and the 10th of his career.

After a two-out single by Tulowitzki, J.T. Chargois replaced Light and he walked Pillar before allowing Melvin Upton Jr.'s two-run double.

Donaldson hit his 33rd homer of the season and the third of the game with two out in the eighth against Alex Wimmers.

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"It doesn't get any better than that," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said." He's heating up. He had a little stretch where he cooled off like everybody. Earlier in the homestand he was just missing some pitches."

Roberto Osuna allowed one run on Dozier's double and Mauer's single in the top of the ninth.

NOTES: Toronto RHP Aaron Sanchez, who was optioned to Class A Dunedin to control his innings, will rejoin the Blue Jays on Wednesday and will start the third game of the series against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. ... Blue Jays C Russell Martin, who was given Saturday off, returned to the lineup as DH on Sunday with C Josh Thole behind the plate for RHP R.A. Dickey, a knuckleballer. ... Twins LHP Hector Santiago (10-8, 5.16 ERA) will return to the rotation Monday to face Indians RHP Trevor Bauer (9-6, 3.88 ERA) in the opener of a three-game series at Cleveland. Santiago missed his last turn with a bruised thumb. ... Blue Jays RHP Marco Estrada (7-6, 3.47 ERA) opposes Orioles LHP Wade Miley (8-10, 5.51 ERA) Monday at Baltimore.

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