- Associated Press - Friday, May 20, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Minnesota Twins have fallen to 10-30 at the first-quarter mark of this spectacular flop of a season, meaning it might soon be time to forget about the standings for the year and focus on who’s worth keeping for the future.

Well, here’s a positive way to look at yet another loss, their 16th in the last 19 games: Ervin Santana turned in a strong start, and the fielding was first-rate.

Troy Tulowitzki drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out, two-strike single in the 11th inning Thursday night, and the Toronto Blue Jays stopped a five-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Twins.

“I like the chemistry we had in today’s game. Everybody was excited to play. You could tell everybody was playing hard,” Santana said. “That’s one of the big keys for us right now. We just have to keep it going and everything’s going to turn our way.”

Edwin Encarnacion’s two-run homer tied the game in the sixth for the only big hit during a duel between Santana and Marco Estrada, who pitched eight innings apiece. Estrada and Roberto Osuna (2-0) held the Twins hitless from the fourth through the 10th, and Joe Biagini worked the 11th inning for his first save with help from his shrewd throw to second base to catch Danny Santana stealing for the second out.

Santana, who had two steals off Estrada, took off too soon after Biagini held the ball longer than usual.

“They did a good job,” Santana said.

Manager Paul Molitor authorized the attempt.

“Danny got anxious and broke too early obviously,” Molitor said. “But I’m not going to wait for a two-run homer there. I think we can steal a base.”

Ryan Pressly (1-3) gave up the one-out single to Encarnacion in the top of the 11th that set up the winning run, and Tulowitzki delivered against Fernando Abad to drop the Twins to 3-13 this month. They went 20-7 in May last season.

Tulowitzki nearly gave the Blue Jays the lead in the ninth, but Santana made a leaping catch of the long drive on the warning track to retire the side with a runner on second. As Santana slammed against the wall to stop his momentum, reliever Kevin Jepsen raised both arms in appreciation.

Then in the 10th inning, Jimmy Paredes hit a leadoff double against Brandon Kintzler, who responded with three straight groundouts. Shortstop Eduardo Nunez saved the go-ahead run with a diving stop of Jose Bautista’s bouncer and quick pivot as he jumped to his feet and made the throw to first in time.

Ervin Santana, who sat out two-plus weeks because of a lower back strain, stumbled in his first start off the disabled list. His last two turns have been much sharper, giving the reeling Twins some hope for their rotation. The right-hander has allowed nine hits and three runs over 14 innings with 10 strikeouts in that span.

“It’s hard to talk about a stopper when you’re at where we are at, but he’s put together a couple nice starts for us,” Molitor said.

Santana retired 13 consecutive batters and cruised into the sixth until a one-out walk to Josh Donaldson. Encarnacion followed, and with one whipsaw swing on a first-pitch fastball that caught too much of the plate, the dangerous designated hitter tied the game.

The ball landed in the second deck above left field, seemingly as quickly as it traveled from the mound to the plate. Encarnacion has seven homers and 18 RBIs with a .329 batting average in 20 career games at Target Field.


New Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau, a native of Toronto, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Twins manager Paul Molitor.


RHP Kyle Gibson will go on a rehab assignment to Class A Fort Myers, where he’ll test his strained shoulder in a start Sunday and make at least one more there before rejoining the Twins. He has thrown two problem-free sessions this week. … RHP Phil Hughes, whose last turn was limited by shoulder fatigue, was declared fit to take the mound Sunday as scheduled.


RHP Aaron Sanchez (3-1, 3.29 ERA) pitches Friday for the Blue Jays. He has worked into the seventh inning in six of eight starts this season. The Twins will counter with RHP Tyler Duffey (1-2, 1.85 ERA), who tossed seven scoreless innings in his last turn, a win Sunday at Cleveland.

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