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Zaun, Rios help Jays overturn early deficit, down Twins

Jun 28, 2007 - 4:47 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Gregg Zaun hit a go-ahead, two-run homer and Alex Rios plated the deciding run with a sacrifice fly as the Toronto Blue Jays rallied from a early three-run deficit to down the Minnesota Twins, 5-4, on Wednesday.

Zaun hit the first pitch he saw from Twins starter Boof Bonser (5-4) in the sixth inning just over the baggie in right field, plating Frank Thomas and completing the Blue Jays' comeback from an early three-run deficit to a 4-3 lead.

Rios brought home Royce Clayton in the seventh inning for an insurance run, one Toronto would need as Minnesota answered with a run of its own in the bottom half of the frame on a sacrifice fly from Torii Hunter.

Zaun's home run came after an adjustment in his second at bat and led Toronto to its fifth victory in sixth games.

"I was looking to pull a ball in the hole and get Frank (Thomas) over to third base and I was able to get it up in the air," Zaun said. "The pitch the at-bat before was in a similar location. I was able to keep my front side on the ball a little longer and get my back side working through it and was able to get the barrel (of the bat) where I wanted it to be."

Blue Jays starter Josh Towers (3-5) lasted 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs - three earned - on nine hits with two strikeouts. He won for the first time in his last three decisions.

Towers had allowed 12 earned runs in his previous 15 innings entering Wednesday's contest over his last three starts, giving the Toronto braintrust some reason to remove him from the rotation before opting to send fellow starter Ty Taubenheim back to the minors as they activated A.J. Burnett from the 15-day disabled list following the contest.

"He was getting ground balls," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Josh gives up hits, he's always done that. But he hung in there."

Jeremy Accardo came on with two runners on and two outs in the eighth inning, but struck out Jason Bartlett to end the threat and then threw a perfect ninth for his 10th save in 12 tries.

After needing 12 innings to score two runs on Tuesday night, Minnesota put two on the board off Towers in the second inning. Jason Kubel singled to lead off the second and scored on Nick Punto's single three batters later.

Punto scored during the next at-bat thanks to poor work by Toronto's battery, as Towers' errant pick-off throw allowed Punto to reach third, and a passed ball on the next pitch gave the Twins a free run.

"I said if I ever manage, I'm going to run all over people (be aggressive on the basepaths and steal bases) because it's frustrating," Towers said. "You've got to really concentrate on them, you lose a little focus on what you're trying to do with your pitch and you've got to change up your game."

Minnesota struck again in the third with four singles off Towers, but only Bartlett scored on Hunter's single. Michael Cuddyer tried to reach home a batter later when Kubel singled for the second time, but was thrown out at the plate by Vernon Wells.

Zaun blocked the plate with his leg after getting the throw from Wells for what proved to be a pivotal out.

"That was a great play - a great throw by the centerfielder (Wells) and a great block by Zaun," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Michael looked like he was going to get there and at the last second, you throw the hammer down, you get your foot in front of home plate and block the plate. He did a super job."

Toronto fought back two innings later, as Adam Lind and Howie Clark hit back-to-back doubles to lead off the fifth and Wells brought home Clark with a groundout two batters later. Zaun's homer in the sixth gave the Blue Jays the lead for good and Rios added the necessary insurance run in the seventh.

After putting up zeros in four straight innings to start the game, Bonser allowed five runs and seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts in six-plus innings. After compiling a 2.45 ERA in six May outings and winning four straight starts, Bonser has gone 1-3 in June with a 6.91 ERA in five starts.

"It's just a rough month," Bonser said. "You could say I'm in a little bit of a slump, I guess. That's all it is."

Toronto won despite tying its season high with four errors. But only Towers' second-inning throwing error led to an unearned run and the Blue Jays stranded 10 Twins baserunners.

"Early on, we had second and third in the first inning and didn't get one in (and) a couple other times, we had opportunities and we just didn't get them in enough," Gardenhire said.

Luis Castillo, Jason Bartlett and Kubel all had a pair of hits and scored a run for the Twins, who had won three of their last four series.

Toronto, which had its season-high four-game winning streak snapped by the Twins on Tuesday, will go for the series win on Thursday as they complete their four-game series with Minnesota.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TORONTO 0 0 0 0 2 2 1 0 0 5 8 4
    MINNESOTA 0 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 4 11 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: TOR - JOSH TOWERS, SCOTT DOWNS (7TH), BRIAN WOLFE (7TH), BRIAN
    TALLET (8TH), JEREMY ACCARDO (8TH) AND GREGG ZAUN
    MIN - BOOF BONSER, MATT GUERRIER (7TH), DENNYS REYE

    Jun 27 10:57 PM
  • 35
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Blue Jays vs. TwinsJun 27 10:42 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY TORII HUNTER SCORED LUIS CASTILLO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M CUDDYER ON FIRST, J MAUER ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 5
    MINNESOTA 4 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J KUBEL (.254, 2-FOR-3)

    Blue Jays vs. TwinsJun 27 10:19 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY ALEX RIOS SCORED ROYCE CLAYTON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, V WELLS ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 5
    MINNESOTA 3 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: M STAIRS (.289, 0-FOR-3)

    Blue Jays vs. TwinsJun 27 10:04 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY GREGG ZAUN (3) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 6TH OFF BOOF BONSER SCORED FRANK THOMAS.
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 4, MINNESOTA 3
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: A LIND (.232, 1-FOR-2)

    Blue Jays vs. TwinsJun 27 9:40 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY VERNON WELLS SCORED HOWIE CLARK.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 2
    MINNESOTA 3 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: A RIOS (.286, 0-FOR-2)

    Blue Jays vs. TwinsJun 27 9:27 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY HOWIE CLARK SCORED ADAM LIND.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, H CLARK ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 1
    MINNESOTA 3 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: R CLAYTON (.234, 0-FOR-0, SAC)

    Blue Jays vs. TwinsJun 27 9:23 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY TORII HUNTER SCORED JASON BARTLETT.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, T HUNTER ON FIRST, M CUDDYER ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 0
    MINNESOTA 3 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J KUBEL (.251, 1-FOR-1)

    Blue Jays vs. TwinsJun 27 9:02 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    PASSED BALL BY GREGG ZAUN ALLOWED NICK PUNTO TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 0
    MINNESOTA 2 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: L CASTILLO (.301, 0-FOR-1)

    Blue Jays vs. TwinsJun 27 8:43 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY NICK PUNTO SCORED JASON KUBEL.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, N PUNTO ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 0
    MINNESOTA 1 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: L CASTILLO (.301, 0-FOR-1)

    Blue Jays vs. TwinsJun 27 8:40 PM