TORONTO — Brandon Morrow struck out a season-high 11, Omar Vizquel wrapped up his 24-year career and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Minnesota Twins 2-1 on Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep.
Morrow (10-7) allowed one run and three hits in eight innings, his longest outing since a complete game victory at Chicago on June 6. Toronto’s staff leader in wins, the right-hander reached double digits in victories for the third straight season.
Brandon Lyon finished the ninth for his first save as the Blue Jays avoided 90 losses, finishing at 73-89. They finished at .500 last season.
Mike McCoy replaced Vizquel with two outs in the ninth and the veteran infielder left to a standing ovation, hugging his teammates, doffing his cap and tapping his heart to show his appreciation.
Fans stood and cheered, many waving Venezuelan flags, when Vizquel came to the plate for the first time in the third. He later drew cheers for a running, no-look basket catch on Drew Butera in the top of the seventh, and got another ovation after lining a base hit to center in the bottom half, his final at-bat. The hit was the 2,877th of his career.
Starting in Toronto for the first time, Canadian-born rookie left-hander Scott Diamond (12-9) allowed two runs and five hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out three.
Twins infielder Trevor Plouffe had to leave after appearing to land awkwardly on first base on his fielder’s choice groundout in the sixth. He was replaced by Alexi Casilla.
Minnesota’s Joe Mauer went 0 for 2 with two walks in his career-high 147th game, dropping his average to .319.
The Twins finished 66-96, three wins better than last season, but they finished with the AL’s worst record for the second straight year and were last in the division in consecutive years for the first time since 1999-00.
Anthony Gose started a two-out rally with a triple to right-center in the third. Rajai Davis drove in Gose with a single, then stole second and scored on a base hit by Adeiny Hechavarria.
The Twins cut the deficit in half in the fourth, loading the bases with a single and two walks and scoring when Toronto couldn’t turn a double play on Matt Carson’s fielder’s choice.
NOTES: Blue Jays OF Jose Bautista, who had season-ending surgery on his left wrist last month, said the injury is healing well and that he will be ready for spring training 2013. Bautista was the ML leader in home runs in 2010 and 2011. ... Toronto INF Edwin Encarnacion (sore left shoulder and neck) missed his third straight start. ... Former teammate Carlos Baerga and fellow Venezuelan baseball greats Luis Aparicio and Andres Galarraga were on hand for Vizquel’s final game. ... Toronto’s final attendance was 2,099,663, a 15.5 percent increase from 2011. It’s Toronto’s biggest year-on-year increase since 1989.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.