The Toronto Blue Jays nearly squandered a four-run lead but were able to hang on to defeat the Minnesota Twins 4-3 and secure Chad Jenkins his first career win Tuesday at the Rogers Centre.
Jenkins (1-3), a 2009 20th overall selection, pitched five innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk.
Kelly Johnson’s 16th home run of the season helped build a 4-0 lead as the Blue Jays (72-89) managed to eventually fend off the Twins’ (66-95) comeback attempt.
It was the 24-year-old Jenkins’s third career start after spending most of the season in bullpen.
Casey Janssen closed out the game in the ninth for his 22nd save of the year.
The Jays were up 1-0 when Johnson, who tied the Blue Jays record for most strikeouts in a season with Jose Canseco (159) in the second inning, took blasted a two-run shot off Twins starter Anthony Swarzak (3-6) in the fourth.
Yunel Escobar singled in another run in the fifth to extend Toronto’s lead to four but was caught trying to advance to second. The hit marked the end of Swarzak’s night as he lasted five innings, giving up four earned runs on five hits and three walks while being tagged for the loss.
Minnesota wasted little time answering in the sixth with lead off man Denard Span smacking his fourth home run of the season off the facing of the right-field bleachers, pulling the Twins to within two.
An Alexi Casilla double in the seventh brought home Trevor Plouffe to cut Toronto’s advance to 4-3.
The Blue Jays’ season comes to a close Wednesday night (7:05 p.m. ET). Brandon Morrow (9-7, 3.09 ERA) takes to the mound hoping to complete a Toronto sweep against Scott Diamond (12-8, 3.54).