Blue Jays light up Twins to reclaim 1st in AL East

Justin Smoak didn’t know how long it had been since he recorded a hit with a runner in scoring position.

Luckily for him, that lengthy stretch — 0 for 29, to be exact — didn’t matter much by the end of the night.

“It probably wasn’t good, none of my numbers are good,” Smoak said with a chuckle before a reporter told him the specifics.

“Really?” he replied. “Well it’s not that way anymore I guess.”

Smoak broke out of his slump with five runs-batted in as the Blue Jays’ offence ignited for a 15-8 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday.

‘Good for Smoaky’

He got his RISP dry spell over with in his first at-bat, hitting a three-run blast in the second inning, then added a run-scoring base hit in the third as the Blue Jays (72-56) moved a game ahead of Boston for the AL East lead and ended a two-game slide.


Justin Smoak had a five RBI night including a second inning home run to help the Jays defeat the Twins 15-8 at the Rogers Centre on Friday. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Smoak, who hadn’t started a game since Aug. 19, picked up his fifth RBI in the seventh, driving in Darwin Barney with a base hit for an 11-5 lead.

“Good for Smoaky, you know? He’s got the right attitude but it’s a tough attitude to have,” manager John Gibbons said.

“He gets it. I’ve talked to him, especially with [Jose] Bautista coming back, he’s going to DH a bit and that’s really going to cut into his time. But he stepped up tonight, a lot of the guys did.”

Russell Martin homered and added a bases-clearing double for a five-RBI night, Josh Donaldson had three RBIs in total, including two on his 30th homer of the season, and Barney, who moved up in the lineup in place of an ill Kevin Pillar, had a double, a single and a solo home run.

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