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Blue Jays rout Twins to complete four-game sweep, extend winning streak to five

TORONTO — Edwin Encarnacion drove in four runs on two doubles and added his 21st home run of the season as the Toronto Blue Jays finished off a four-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins with a 9-3 win on Thursday.

The win extends Toronto's winning streak to five games going into a crucial weekend series at the American League East-leading New York Yankees. Toronto has won eight of its past nine games.

Dioner Navarro knocked in two more for the Jays (58-52), who had seven batters either drive in or score a run.

No. 9 hitter Ben Revere went 3 for 4 with three runs scored. The left fielder also showed his speed by advancing to third base on a bunt single.

Left-hander Mark Buehrle barely broke a sweat on the mound, allowing three runs on five hits in seven innings.

Trevor Plouffe hit a two-run home run off Buehrle in the fourth inning followed by a solo shot by Aaron Hicks in the seventh.

Buehrle was never in real trouble, and neither were the Blue Jays, who further solidified their hold on an AL wild-card spot while dealing another blow to the free-falling Twins (53-53). Minnesota held a wild-card spot when the series started Monday.

Kyle Gibson started the game for Minnesota and suffered the loss going 4 2/3 innings, giving up eight earned runs on nine hits and walking three.

It's the first time all season that Toronto has scored back-to-back nine-run games, with a 9-7 win on Wednesday.

Toronto was lights out defensively. Kevin Pillar made a highlight-reel, full-extension diving catch in centre field in the eighth inning that was worthy of a standing ovation from the crowd of 34,847 at Rogers Centre.

Six of the Blue Jays' next nine games are against the Yankees, including ace David Price's next start Saturday and his next scheduled home start on Friday, Aug. 14.

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Stephen Whyno, The Canadian Press

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