TORONTO (AP) Cavan Biggio hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the eighth inning and the Toronto Blue Jays overcame a five-run deficit to beat the Minnesota Twins 7-6 Sunday and avoid a three-game sweep.
Biggio’s fifth homer of the season came off Emilio Pagán (3-1), who began the eighth by giving up singles to Alejandro Kirk and Santiago Espinal.
The 423-foot drive was the second-longest of Biggio’s career behind a 429-foot homer against Tampa Bay on July 27, 2019.
“I got it as good as I could,” Biggio said. “I kind of knew off the bat that was going to go.”
Matt Chapman added a two-run homer and had three RBIs for the Blue Jays, who are 8-3 in June.
Nate Pearson (4-0) allowed one hit in two scoreless innings, and Jordan Romano worked around a leadoff walk in the ninth for his 18th save in 21 chances, striking out Trevor Larnach to strand pinch runner Willi Castro at third base.
Donovan Solano hit a solo home run for the AL Central-leading Twins, who failed to hold a 6-1, fifth-inning lead.
“We didn’t get it done,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It’s disappointing when you have a lead and you can’t hold it.”
The Twins are 9-12 in series finales. This was the third time Minnesota lost when seeking a three-game sweep.
“The sweep, when you have it in your hand, is what you want,” Baldelli said, “Walking away without it is definitely disappointing.”
Royce Lewis had three hits for the Twins, extending his streak of consecutive base hits to seven before striking out against Pearson in the seventh. Lewis went 4 for 4 Friday.
Minnesota’s first six batters reached safely against Kevin Gausman, who gave up four runs and four hits in 36-pitch first inning. Alex Kirilloff hit an RBI double, two runs scored on Larnach’s single, and Lewis drove in a run with an infield hit.
Gausman allowed six runs, seven hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings. He’s 1-4 with a 6.35 ERA in 11 career games against the Twins.
“For whatever reason, my whole career has been a grind against them,” Gausman said.
Plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt left in the fourth after being struck on the left forearm by Daulton Varsho’s foul tip. First base umpire Brian Waslh moved behind the plate and Ryan Blakney went from second to first.
Before the inning ended, Toronto’s Nathan Lukes lost control of his bat and the barrel struck Twins catcher Christian Vázquez, hitting him around the collarbone. Vázquez was shaken but remained in the game.
Varsho hit Walsh in the left shoulder with a foul tip in the seventh, but Walsh was able to continue.
Solano homered and Lewis singled home a run in the fifth as the Twins expanded their lead to five runs, but Chapman’s ninth homer and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s RBI grounder cut the margin to 6-4.
Minnesota put runners at second and third with two out in the sixth but the inning ended when Walsh called a pitch clock violation against Kirilloff with two strikes, saying he wasn’t alert to the pitcher with eight seconds left on the clock.
“I think it’s a bold call,” Baldelli said. “I can’t agree with that, and I think the Blue Jays are walking off the field thinking they got away with something.”
Twins starter Louie Varland allowed four runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Blue Jays: 1B/DH Brandon Belt did not play after leaving Saturday’s game because of a sore left hamstring. … OF Kevin Kiermaier (sore left wrist) didn’t start for the third straight game but came on as a pinch runner in the eighth.
Toronto optioned RHP Bowden Francis to Triple-A Buffalo and recalled RHP Thomas Hatch from Triple-A.
Gausman said he was watching from the trainer’s room during Toronto’s big comeback.
“Superstition kicks in so whatever you’re doing, you keep doing it,” he said.
So, what was Gausman doing?
“I did have a beer,” he acknowledged. “It was kind of some nervous sips, but we kept it going, so I had to open another one. It’s rally beers, and sometimes that has to happen.”
Twins: RHP Pablo López (3-3, 4.25) starts Tuesday as the Twins return home to begin a two-game series against Milwaukee. RHP Corbin Burnes (5-4, 3.36) starts for the Brewers.
Blue Jays: RHP Chris Bassitt (7-4, 3.29) starts Tuesday as Toronto begins a three-game series at Baltimore.
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