Blue Jays hit 4 home runs, send Twins to 8th straight loss

TORONTO (AP) Backed by a big offensive outburst, Francisco Liriano earned his first win with the Blue Jays and helped the team into the AL East lead.

Russell Martin and Justin Smoak each homered and drove in five runs as Toronto hammered Minnesota 15-8 Friday night, handing the Twins their eighth straight loss.

Josh Donaldson, who drove in three runs, and Darwin Barney, who had three hits, also each homered.

''The offense came to life and it was a big night,'' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

Liriano pitched five innings to win for the first time in four starts since Toronto got him a trade with Pittsburgh on Aug. 1. The Blue Jays took a one-game division lead over Boston.

Trevor Plouffe hit a solo homer for the last-place Twins. Minnesota has been tagged for at least eight runs in four straight games.

Liriano gave up four runs and two hits. He is 7-12 overall, and 3-1 in five career starts against Minnesota, his team from 2005 to 2012.

Three of the four batters who walked against Liriano came around to score.

''I was a little bit wild today,'' Liriano said through a translator. ''Thank God that the offense hit the ball well today.''

Smoak connected off Pat Dean (1-4) in the second inning and Donaldson followed three batters later with his 30th.

Smoak also hit RBI singles in the third and seventh.

''He stepped up tonight,'' Gibbons said. ''A lot of the guys did.''

Barney homered off Andrew Albers to begin a four-run sixth for the Blue Jays. Martin capped the inning with a three-run double off Pat Light.

Toronto batted around a second time in the seventh. Martin had the big blow again, a two-run homer off Ryan O'Rourke. Seven of Martin's 15 home runs have come in his past 11 games.

''When those guys get hot, they're tough,'' Albers said. ''You saw it all year last year. They can put up 12 or 15 against anybody.''

Starting in place of Hector Santiago (bruised left thumb), Dean allowed six runs and eight hits in three innings.

''He's got to learn to continue to trust that he has to change speeds a little bit more,'' manager Paul Molitor said. ''A lot of things coming in there around the same speed.''

Before the game, Toronto got switch-hitting catcher Dioner Navarro in a trade with the Chicago White Sox, reacquiring a member of their 2015 AL East championship team.

General manager Ross Atkins said Navarro was excited about the opportunity to return.

''I could see the smile through the phone,'' Atkins said. ''This should be a boost of energy for him, coming into a contender.''

COMING THROUGH WHEN IT COUNTS

Smoak's homer snapped an 0-for-29 slump with runners in scoring position. His last hit with a runner in scoring position was June 18.

DO IT AGAIN

Donaldson reached the 30-homer mark in consecutive seasons for the first time.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Twins: 1B Joe Mauer (quadriceps) missed his third straight game. He's expected to return Saturday. ... RHP Alex Wimmers was selected from Triple-A Rochester and made his major league debut with a scoreless eighth.

Blue Jays: 2B Devon Travis (right ring finger) took swings Friday but sat for the fourth straight game. Manager John Gibbons said Travis would return Saturday. ... OF Kevin Pillar was scratched with flu-like symptoms. ... OF Michael Saunders (hamstring) missed his second straight game.

UP NEXT

Twins: RHP Ervin Santana (6-10, 3.39) struck out a season-high 10 batters in his previous start but took the loss against Kansas City.

Blue Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman (9-5, 4.47) is 1-1 with a 2.10 ERA in four August starts, allowing six runs in 25 2-3 innings.

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