Baseball / Sports

Correia works out of jams as Twins blank Jays

TORONTO -- Brett Lawrie singled. So did Dioner Navarro. Then with one out, ninth-place batter Anthony Gose, hitting .229, drew a walk to load the bases in the second inning Tuesday night.

Twins starter Kevin Correia was in a jam. Again. The way his season has been going, a crooked-number inning seemed like a lock. But Correia (3-7) got out of the jam with a little sleight of hand, then carved out a much-needed strong outing as the Twins beat Toronto 4-0.

The victory was Correia's first since May 20 at San Diego, and it quieted some of the speculation about his future in the rotation.

His best work came in the second inning with the bases loaded and Jose Reyes at the plate. Reyes hit a sharp ground ball back up the middle that could have scored a run or two. Correia was in his follow-through, but stuck his glove behind his back and had the ball sock right into it.

It was a glove save, and a beauty.

He threw home to force Lawrie for the second out, with no chance of getting the speedy Reyes at first. But that wasn't a problem, as Melky Cabrera tapped to first base to end the inning. Joe Mauer fielded the ball and flipped it to Correia as he ran for the base.

For most of this season, Correia has failed to strand runners on base like he's done in the past.

Last year, he left 76.1 percent of baserunners against him on base. This year, that number has dropped to 60.3 percent. And he's talked about not getting the key pitch to get out of an inning this season. He got it in the second inning with his glove save.

It was the break Correia needed, as he retired the next 11 batters he faced. A single by Adam Lind in the sixth ended that run. Correia left after giving up a leadoff single in the seventh, ending a start in which he allowed six hits and one walk with one strikeout. It was Correia's first scoreless outing this season.

Correia benefited from some early run support, as the Twins took a 2-0 first-inning lead for the second consecutive night when Brian Dozier blasted a two-run homer to left. Dozier has home runs in the first two games of this series and leads the Twins with 14.

The Twins loaded the bases in the fourth and cashed in when Danny Santana hit a slow bouncer to third that he beat out for a hit. Juan Francisco made an ill-advised, wild throw to first and two runs scored, making it 4-0.

That was enough for Correia to take the game into the late innings. The bullpen took it from there, as Brian Duensing completed the seventh, Jared Burton pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and Glen Perkins matched Burton's effort in the ninth.

Correia's glove save might have stopped his slide toward the hot seat. Trevor May, one of a few starters at Class AAA Rochester pitching well, started Tuesday against Gwinnett County, which would have made it easy for the Twins to slide May into Correia's spot in the rotation. To be clear, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has not dropped any hints that a change was being contemplated.

The Twins have a chance to win the three-game series Wednesday with Phil Hughes on the mound. The Twins are 5-0 in series against AL East teams.

(c)2014 Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

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