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Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Kyle Drabek throws to out Minnesota Twins centre fielder Denard Span at first base during third AL action in Toronto on Saturday, April 2, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn (Frank Gunn)
Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Kyle Drabek throws to out Minnesota Twins centre fielder Denard Span at first base during third AL action in Toronto on Saturday, April 2, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn (Frank Gunn)

Drabek in form as Jays down Twins Add to ...

Blue Jays rookie Kyle Drabek did more than enough to ensure his first major-league win came Saturday against the Minnesota Twins.

His teammates provided plenty of offence just to make sure.

Drabek and two relievers combined on a one-hitter and Toronto smacked two more home runs in a 6-1 victory in front of 27,194 fans at Rogers Centre.

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The Jays' second straight win came a day after a four-homer barrage in a 13-3 rout of the Twins in the season opener for both teams. Drabek was solid from the start in this one, giving up Minnesota's lone hit to Denard Span in the sixth inning. The 23-year-old right-hander had three walks and seven strikeouts.

"The control of my pitches wasn't the best today," Drabek said. "It was just the situations where I needed a good pitch, it was there. I think that helped me out a bunch this game."

Catcher Jose Molina and third baseman Jayson Nix hit solo homers and left-fielder Travis Snider knocked in a pair of runs to help Toronto improve to 2-0. The Blue Jays had 11 hits in all.

Drabek, acquired in the Roy Halladay trade with Philadelphia in December 2009, allowed one earned run over seven innings. He threw 54 of his 101 pitches for strikes.

"He threw the ball outstanding," said Jays manager John Farrell. "He did a good job in a couple of situations where he fell behind in the count. He didn't let the emotion of that at-bat take him out of his game plan."

Shawn Camp and Mark Rzepczynski both pitched an inning of scoreless relief to complete the win. Francisco Liriano (0-1) absorbed the loss after giving up four earned runs over four-plus innings.

"We just didn't control the strike zone again today," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "It's a lot of pitches and our bullpen has ended up getting a lot of innings out there. That's not the way you draw it up."

Drabek earned pitcher of the year honours in the double-A Eastern League last year and is pegged to be one of the team's cornerstones for the future. He's in the No. 2 slot in the rotation while Brandon Morrow is out with a right elbow strain.

Snider entered the game in the fifth as a pinch-hitter and swatted the first pitch he saw from reliever Kevin Slowey to the right-field corner to score a pair. In the top of the sixth, he fumbled a ball in left field that allowed Span to reach second. It didn't faze Drabek though, as the youngster struck out Tsuyoshi Nishioka and got Joe Mauer to ground out to end the threat.

"The fact that he was able to maintain command of the game and keep the game in check once again was efficient," Farrell said of his starter. "He did a great job."

It was much quieter in the stadium Saturday after a raucous sellout crowd of 47,984 took in the opener Friday night. Saturday's game took two hours 30 minutes to play. Drabek (1-0) was called up by the Blue Jays for a few games last summer. He went 0-3 with a 4.76 earned-run average over 17 innings.

Notes: Jays centre-fielder Rajai Davis was given the day off after tweaking his ankle Friday night. He's considered day-to-day. Mike McCoy got the start in centre field and Yunel Escobar led off the batting order. ... Nix made his Blue Jays debut at third base as Edwin Encarnacion moved to designated hitter. Juan Rivera got the start in left field. ... Toronto will go for the sweep of the three-game series Sunday (Rogers Sportsnet, 1:07 p.m. ET). Brett Cecil and Nick Blackburn are the probable starters. ... The Jays will get the day off Monday before kicking off a three-game set against the visiting Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.



 

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