MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Still stuck in last place and minus injured leader Vernon Wells, the streaky Toronto Blue Jays needed to reconstruct their confidence.
This was a successful first step: A three-game sweep at Minnesota.Dustin McGowan survived his wildness without much damage, the bullpen was spotless and Joe Inglett picked up his first career pinch-hit lift the Blue Jays past the Twins 3-2 on Thursday for their fourth straight victory."It does good for any team when you get on a roll like this," Inglett said after slicing a two-out, bases-loaded single through the infield in the 11th inning. "Hopefully we just keep on truckin'."Scott Rolen started the inning against Jesse Crain (1-2) with a double into the right-field corner that Michael Cuddyer couldn't quite catch. Lyle Overbay was walked intentionally with two outs, and pinch-hitter Gregg Zaun drew a walk.Then Inglett, called up last weekend from Triple-A Syracuse, batted for Jorge Velandia and poked his hit just out of shortstop Adam Everett's reach. Inglett was hitless in 10 previous pinch-hitting appearances."We'll win a few in a row and then lose a few in a row," manager John Gibbons said. "You want to steady it out a little bit more."Minnesota's Justin Morneau reached base three times and drove in a run on his 27th birthday, but the Twins twice ended innings with runners thrown out at home on his hits. They left 11 on base, five in scoring position.Jason Kubel tried to score from first and, with his head down rounding third, ignored third-base coach Scott Ullger's stop sign in the seventh. He was thrown out easily, as was Brendan Harris in the fifth when Ullger waved him in. Harris has had tightness in his right hamstring."He says his legs are fine," manager Ron Gardenhire said, "but he wasn't really motoring around there."Shawn Camp (1-1) picked up the victory by getting the last out of the 10th, and B.J. Ryan finished off the Twins by converting his seventh save in as many attempts. Ryan is unscored upon in 12 innings after returning from major elbow surgery that ended his 2007 season after only five appearances.Praises were necessary, too, for fellow relievers Jason Frasor, Brian Tallet, Armando Benitez and Jesse Carlson after McGowan finished only five innings."I can't say enough about them," McGowan said. "I wish I could've went a little deeper into the game to give them a little more rest, but I guess that's going to happen sometimes."After getting clobbered by Cleveland for nine hits and nine runs in 3 2/3 innings in his last appearance, McGowan kept the game close this time -- but couldn't find the plate.Against a lineup missing Carlos Gomez (flu) and Joe Mauer (rest), McGowan threw 94 pitches before giving up a hit. He walked five and hit a batter and allowed Minnesota's first run on a wild pitch.In the fifth, Frasor and Tallet warmed up while the no-hitter was still intact. His bid ended on a one-out single by Harris, who was thrown out on Morneau's double that drove in Everett.Starting pitching has not been the problem for the Blue Jays, whose 3.63 ERA for the rotation is third-best in the league. Without Wells, who went down last week with a broken wrist that will keep him out for most of the rest of the season's first half, Toronto is missing some punch in the middle of the lineup.Twins starter Glen Perkins, like McGowan, was able to sidestep self-induced trouble for the most part by getting a popup or a weak grounder when he needed it.Alex Rios (single) and Rolen (grounder) drove in runs in the third, but Perkins completed six innings and retired his last eight batters.Perkins, pitching for a permanent spot in the rotation while Scott Baker is on the disabled list and Francisco Liriano is in the minors, surrendered five hits and two walks while striking out six."I want to make the decision tough on them," said Perkins, whose spot will come up for debate in a week or two when Baker is ready to be activated.For now, the up-and-down Twins are more focused on figuring out how to get some more runs. After taking three out of four games from defending champion Boston, they fell flat. Cuddyer said they didn't let up, but this series wasn't pretty."When you don't play well against a team that's got pitching like that," Cuddyer said, "it makes it tough to win."
The Blue Jays have won 10 of their last 14 against the Twins, including six straight. ... Mauer and Gomez both entered the game in the ninth. ... Rolen made an acrobatic catch of Matt Tolbert's line drive to end the ninth. Marco Scutaro robbed Tolbert in the seventh by stretching out to snare a rising liner.