NEWS
08/04/2015 21:51 EDT | Updated 08/04/2016 01:12 EDT

Donaldson and Tulowitzki hit home runs as Blue Jays beat Twins 3-1

TORONTO — Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki both hit home runs early in the Blue Jays' 3-1 win over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday as Toronto added to its lead in the American League wild card race.

Marco Estrada (9-6) struck out five over 6 2/3 innings, giving up two hits and a run for Toronto (56-52). The Blue Jays have won three straight and hold the AL's second wild card spot.

Mark Lowe and Aaron Sanchez combined for an inning and a half of scoreless relief. Roberto Osuna earned his eighth save of the season.

Sanchez and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons were suspended by Major League Baseball earlier in the day for their roles in a bench-clearing altercation against the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

Sanchez was suspended for three games and fined for his role in the incident, but he appealed the decision allowing him to stay on Toronto's active roster.

Gibbons served his one-game suspension Tuesday night, with bench coach DeMarlo Hale managing the game in his absence.

Phil Hughes (10-7) allowed five hits and three runs in the start for Minnesota (54-52), which has dropped three straight. Ryan O'Rourke, Casey Fien and Kevin Jepsen came out of the bullpen for the Twins.

Donaldson got Toronto on the board early, hitting his 28th home run of the season to deep left field in just the second at-bat of the game. He has homered in five of his last nine games.

Tulowitzki gave the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead with a solo shot over the left-field wall in the third inning. It was Tulowitzki's second home run in Toronto since being traded to the Blue Jays on July 28.

Torii Hunter cut Toronto's lead to 2-1 in the fourth. Estrada loaded the bases and Hunter's sacrifice fly to deep right field brought in Brian Dozier. Estrada got out of the jam in the next at-bat, striking out left-fielder Eddie Rosario.

The Blue Jays almost added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth. Kevin Pillar grounded out to third base with two out, but Trevor Plouffe's throw was slightly off the mark, forcing first baseman Joe Mauer off the bag. Umpire Tom Woodring ruled that Mauer still tagged Pillar on the play.

If Pillar had been safe, Edwin Encarnacion would've easily scored from third.

Encarnacion did score in the sixth inning when Dioner Navarro drove him in with a soft double to left-centre. That RBI gave Toronto a 3-1 lead and ended Hughes's night. Ryan Goins followed that up with a nearly identical double, then O'Rourke intentionally walked Pillar with two out.

Ben Revere popped out to right field to end the Blue Jays' threat.

Osuna retired back-to-back hitters in the ninth with chants of "Let's go Blue Jays!" raining down from the 26,504 in attendance. Osuna walked Miguel Sano before getting Hunter to pop out to deep right field to end the game.

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John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press