TORONTO— Bartolo Colon tossed six-plus innings of one-run ball while Jorge Polanco and Byron Buxton each drove in a pair as the Minnesota Twins defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 6-1 on Friday night.
The Twins (66-62), who entered Friday a half game up on the Kansas City Royals for the second American League wild-card spot, avoided a third straight loss.
Toronto (60-68) has now dropped six of seven after going 7-3 on a 10-game home stand earlier this month.
Colon (6-10) surrendered nine hits and walked one over 6 2/3 innings. The 44-year-old right-hander has now won back-to-back starts and four of his last five outings.
J.A. Happ (6-10) went six innings allowing five earned runs on eight hits while striking out seven for his third consecutive loss.
The Twins got on the board in the third on a sacrifice-bunt from Buxton, which scored Brian Dozier from third. Two batters later, Polanco doubled to score a pair of runs giving Minnesota an early 3-0 lead.
Justin Smoak made history with his solo home run in the bottom half of the third. The first baseman now holds the single-season franchise record for homers by a switch hitter (35) surpassing Jose Cruz Jr.
Minnesota took a 4-1 lead in the fourth after Mitch Garver led off with a triple off the wall in right and scored on a sac-fly from Max Kepler.
Toronto threatened in the fourth after a Kevin Pillar one-out single. Nori Aoki moved him over from first to third after a single of his own, but Colon got Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney to fly out to end the inning.
The Twins manufactured another run in the fifth capitalizing on a leadoff double from Joe Mauer. After the Minnesota first basement advanced to third on a bunt single from Buxton, Polanco cashed in the run with sac-fly.
Buxton showed off his defensive game in the eighth, making a highlight-reel leaping grab to take extra bases away from Rob Refsnyder. He then added his second RBI of the night in the ninth driving home Chris Gimenez to give the Twins a 6-1 lead.
Notes: Prior to Friday’s game, the Blue Jays reinstated RHP Nick Tepesch from the paternity list and optioned him to triple-A Buffalo. ? RHP Joe Biagini (3-8, 5.11 ERA) is expected to get the start for the Blue Jays on Sunday when they conclude a three-game series with the Twins.