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Santana hits tiebreaking HR as Twins beat Blue Jays for 16th win in 18 games

TORONTO – Carlos Santana delivered a pivotal home run in the fifth inning, while Joe Ryan showcased his pitching prowess with a stellar seven-inning performance, propelling the Minnesota Twins to their 16th victory in 18 games as they edged past the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 on Friday evening.

Amidst the clash, Carlos Correa shone with a pair of hits and crossed home plate twice, contributing significantly to the Twins’ triumph, marking their ninth win in the last 13 encounters in Toronto.

Adding to the spectacle, Jose Miranda chipped in with an RBI single, bolstering the Twins’ offensive momentum as they extended their road winning streak to an impressive seven games. Notably, the Twins’ streak seemed to have a lucky charm in the form of a sausage, as they successfully brought it across the Canadian border.

However, amidst the celebrations, Santana encountered an unexpected moment when he was struck on the helmet by the aforementioned lucky sausage while returning to the dugout following his home run heroics.

On the mound, Joe Ryan (2-2) showcased his prowess, conceding only one run and six hits across seven innings, securing his first victory in three starts. His commanding performance included seven strikeouts without issuing a single walk.

The bullpen duo of Jhoan Duran and Griffin Jax then took charge, with Jax clinching his fifth save in seven opportunities, ensuring the Twins maintained their narrow lead till the end.

Despite the Blue Jays’ efforts, highlighted by Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s three hits, including a home run, they fell short, suffering their sixth loss in eight games. Kiner-Falefa’s RBI single in the ninth inning off Jax narrowed the deficit to one, but Ernie Clement’s liner hitting Jax and deflecting to Santana at first base ultimately stranded the tying run at third.

Santana’s leadoff homer against Blue Jays’ southpaw Yusei Kikuchi (2-3) not only ignited the Twins’ offensive charge but also extended their remarkable streak of hitting at least one home run in 18 consecutive games in Toronto, marking the second-longest streak in team history.

Santana’s blast, his fifth of the season, further solidified his dominance against Toronto, boasting 14 home runs and 37 RBIs in 81 career games against the Blue Jays.

On the Blue Jays’ side, Kikuchi delivered a commendable performance, allowing only two runs and four hits across a season-high eight innings, although he remained winless in three starts.

Looking ahead, the Blue Jays are set to deploy RHP Kevin Gausman (2-3, 3.78 ERA) on the mound on Saturday, squaring off against Twins’ RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (1-0, 1.74). Gausman, with a history of struggle against Minnesota, carries a 6.35 ERA in 11 career games against the Twins.