Twins buried by homers
MINNEAPOLIS -- Jose Bautista hit home runs No. 53 and 54, including a grand slam, and the Toronto Blue Jays went deep six times in a 13-2 victory over the stumbling Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.
Edwin Encarnacion hit two homers and Jose Molina and Travis Snider added long balls for the big-swinging Blue Jays, who have hit 253 homers this season, the fourth-highest total in baseball history.
Bautista's second homer went to right field, his first this season that didn't go to either left or left-center.
Francisco Liriano (14-10) gave up five runs and six hits, including three of those homers, with six strikeouts in 5Zc innings in his final start before the playoffs. The left-hander is scheduled to start Game 1 of the ALDS on Wednesday at Target Field.
The AL Central champ-ions have lost six of their last seven games and missed a chance to tie the Rays and Yankees for the best record in the American League.
Bautista entered the night on an 0-for-20 skid, but had three hits and five RBIs. His mammoth grand slam landed in the third deck in left field some 428 feet from home plate and he added the solo homer to right in the ninth.
Bautista, whose previous career high for homers was 16, has nine multihomer games this year. He is the first player to hit 54 homers in a season since Alex Rodriguez in 2007.
Casey Janssen (5-2) pitched 1Zc innings of scoreless relief for the win.
It appears that no matter who is on the mound, or where that mound is, the Blue Jays still hit home runs.
Liriano led the league in fewest homers allowed -- with a minimum of 150 innings pitched -- allowing only six long balls all season before giving up three in less than six innings on Thursday.
And according to hittrackeronline.com, Target Field had allowed just 1.35 homers per game when the day began, third-fewest in the league behind Oakland's McAfee Coliseum (1.33) and Seattle's cavernous Safeco Field (1.22).
Encarnacion got things started with a two-run homer to the opposite field in right and then gave Toronto a 3-0 lead with a 419-foot blast into the trees behind the center field fence in the fifth. It was just the sixth home run to clear the center field fence at Target Field this season.
Molina followed with a solo shot that just cleared the left field fence for Toronto's 250th homer of the season. Only the 1996 Baltimore Orioles (257), the 2005 Texas Rangers (260) and the 1997 Seattle Mariners (264) have hit more in one year.
Liriano, who left his previous start after three innings because of illness, has given up 15 earned runs in his last 19Zc innings, not an encouraging sign as the Twins get ready for the playoffs.
The entire pitching staff has been in a funk ever since they clinched the AL Central title on Sept. 21. The Twins have allowed at least 10 runs in five of their last seven games.
Joe Mauer went 0 for 4 as the designated hitter, returning from an 11-day absence because of an injured left knee that required a cortisone shot.
NOTES: Twins slugger Justin Morneau, who has not played since sustaining a concussion on July 7, took early batting practice. He ruled himself out for the ALDS but said he hoped to be ready if the team advances to the ALCS. ... It was Bautista's fourth career grand slam and second this season. ... Encarnacion had his sixth career multihomer game and second of the year. ... Twins SS J.J. Hardy, who has been bothered by a sore left knee and migraine headaches, played for just the second time in the last nine games. He went 0 for 4.