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TEX@TOR: Drabek fans eight Rangers over six innings

The Blue Jays will look to make it three in a row when they turn the ball to Kyle Drabek for the second of a four-game set with the Twins after beating Minnesota Thursday night, 6-2, at Target Field.

Toronto received another impressive performance from Henderson Alvarez, who won his third consecutive decision, and will look for a bounce-back performance Friday from Kyle Drabek after he surrendered a season-high five runs in his last outing.

"Just couldn't seem to find the four-seam fastball and that's what beat me today," Drabek, 2-3 with a 3.34 ERA, said following his last start. "It just needs to be fixed. ... That's pretty much the end of that."

Minnesota, meanwhile, losers of two straight and 14 of its past 17, will counter with right-hander Nick Blackburn.

Blackburn has dropped his last eight decisions and hasn't won since July 8. On the year, he's 0-4 with a 6.84 ERA and opponents are hitting .312 off him.

Blackburn's struggles, coupled with Minnesota's offense, which has scored the fewest runs in the American League, could be a tough combination for the Twins to overcome on Friday. But the 30-year-old has had moderate success against Toronto over his career, going 1-1 over four starts with a 2.33 ERA.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is hoping his club, which is a Major League worst 8-23, can find some new life after making a number of moves to its roster.

"It's just back to baseball," Gardenhire said. "New guys up and get some other guys out and they need to go do some work and just getting back to baseball. Same thing every day. You go do your work and prepare and hopefully we pitch well enough to keep us in the ballgame and get a chance to score some runs."

The Twins have gone 7-17 against the Blue Jays since 2009.

Blue Jays: Encarnacion guiding Blue Jays offensively
• Edwin Encarnacion has been a force at the plate for the Blue Jays, and after experiencing his worst slump of the season, he seems to be back on track.

The designated hitter snapped a season-long 21 at-bat hitless streak with his 10th homer of the year Wednesday and drove in two more runs in Thursday's win to increase his team-leading total to 28. Encarnacion's 28 RBIs rank second in the American League and he's only one of four AL players who have hit double-digit homers. The Dominican native didn't hit his 10th home run in 2011 until August.

• Yunel Escobar continues to produce out of the No. 2 spot in the lineup.

The shortstop went 4-for-4 Thursday with three runs scored and has four multihit games since being switched in the order on May 2. Escobar has increased his average to .265 in the process.

Twins: Minnesota shakes things up
• The Twins optioned third baseman Danny Valencia to Triple-A Rochester and designated left-handed pitcher Matt Maloney for assignment and to replace them, the Twins recalled outfielder Darin Mastroianni and selected the contract of right-handed pitcher P.J. Walters from Rochester.

In 20 games with Rochester, Mastroianni hit .346 (27-for-78) with two doubles, two triples, 10 stolen bases and 11 RBIs. Walters, meanwhile, was 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA over six starts.

Mastroianni made his debut for the Twins on Thursday, going 0-for-3 in just his second Major League game. His first was with the Blue Jays last season. Minnesota claimed him off waivers from the Blue Jays on Feb. 9.

"He's been playing well down there and running all over the place, and I want to see him out there, see what happens," Gardenhire said prior to the game. "He's been getting it done. That's why he's up here. We talked about the guys who were playing the best."

Walters will start for the Twins on Saturday.

• Josh Willingham hit his seventh homer of the season and drove in his 18th run with a solo shot off Alvarez in the sixth.

The slugger has been one of the lone bright spots in the Twins lineup this season and has turned out to be a great offseason acquisition. Willingham is second in the AL with a .646 slugging percentage and 1.067 OPS.

He's gone deep in back-to-back games after going homerless in 15 straight.

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