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Twins hold off Blue Jays' late rally

Apr 3, 2011 - 8:51 PM Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Denard Span's solo home run in the ninth inning proved to be more than just insurance for Minnesota, as the Twins held on to beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-3, and avoid a three-game sweep at Rogers Centre.

Closer Joe Nathan, who missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, came on to protect a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, his first appearance since October 11, 2009.

Travis Snider led off with a single and Mike McCoy stroked a one-out double before Yunel Escobar lofted a sacrifice fly to center field. Consecutive walks to Juan Rivera and Jose Bautista loaded the bases for Adam Lind, who grounded out to first baseman Michael Cuddyer to end the game.

Starter Nick Blackburn (1-0) gave up two runs -- one earned -- on six hits over 5 2/3 innings for Minnesota, which avoided starting 0-3 for the first time since 1981.

Brett Cecil (0-1) allowed three runs and six hits in five full frames for the Blue Jays.

Minnesota's Danny Valencia homered to open the third inning, but Toronto tied it in the fourth on a throwing error by Twins second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka.

The Twins scored two runs in the fifth to take a 3-1 lead. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Matt Tolbert stroked a single to left field. Jason Kubel came home with the go-ahead run, but Valencia was thrown out at home by Snider. Back-to-back singles by Span and Nishioka plated another run before Cecil retired Delmon Young and Justin Morneau to escape further damage.

Bautista, who led the majors last season with a club record 54 home runs, belted his second of 2011 to leadoff the sixth.

Span's blast to right field made it 4-2 in the ninth.

Game Notes

Nishioka picked up his first RBI in the majors...Cecil was 5-0 in his last seven home starts in 2010...Minnesota snapped a four-game losing streak at Rogers Centre...Toronto was aiming to start 3-0 for the first time since 1996.

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    Twins 4, Blue Jays 3  FinalApr 5 12:34 PM

    TORONTO: 3

    Apr 3 4:06 PM

  • Jayson Nix is pinch-running for Juan Rivera.

    Twins 4, Blue Jays 3  Bot 9, 2 OutsApr 3 4:01 PM

  • Denard Span one-out, solo Home Run (1) to right. Tsuyoshi Nishioka due up.

    Twins 4, Blue Jays 2  Top 9, 1 OutApr 3 3:39 PM
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    Twins 3, Blue Jays 2  Top 7, 0 OutsApr 3 2:55 PM

  • Jose Bautista lead-off Home Run (2) to left. Adam Lind due up.

    Twins 3, Blue Jays 2  Bot 6, 0 OutsApr 3 2:46 PM

  • Delmon Young popped out to second. Bases loaded with two outs and Justin Morneau due up.

    Twins 3, Blue Jays 1  Top 5, 2 OutsApr 3 2:20 PM

  • Matt Tolbert single to left scored Jason Kubel with none out, On the play Danny Valencia was thrown out at home. Runners on first and second with one out and Denard Span due up.

    Twins 2, Blue Jays 1  Top 5, 1 OutApr 3 2:17 PM

  • Tsuyoshi Nishioka's throwing error scored Adam Lind with two outs.Edwin Encarnacion reached second. Runner on second with two outs and Travis Snider due up.

    Twins 1, Blue Jays 1  Bot 4, 2 OutsApr 3 2:08 PM

  • Danny Valencia lead-off Home Run (1) to left. Drew Butera due up.

    Twins 1, Blue Jays 0  Top 3, 0 OutsApr 3 1:36 PM

  • Denard Span struck out looking. None on with one out and Tsuyoshi Nishioka due up.

    Apr 3 1:09 PM
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    Twins vs. Blue JaysApr 3 6:00 AM