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Big bat in Minn.: Dozier homers again, as Twins blank Toronto

TORONTO (TSX) — Brian Dozier hit a first-inning homer for the second game in a row and Kevin Correia pitched six shutout innings as the Minnesota Twins defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 4-0 on Tuesday.

It was the third time in the past four games that the Blue Jays, who lead the American League East, have been shut out. The St. Louis Cardinals blanked Toronto 5-0 in successive games on Saturday and Sunday.

The victory by the Twins (30-33) evened the three-game series, with the rubber match to be played Wednesday afternoon.

Correia (3-7) held the Blue Jays to six hits and one walk while striking out one. The right-hander reduced his earned-run average to 5.60 in picking up his first win since May 20.

Toronto left-hander J.A. Happ (5-3) fell behind before he got an out when Dozier, the Twins second baseman, hit a two-run homer in the first.

Happ allowed six hits, three walks and four runs (three earned) in 3 2/3 innings. Right-hander Chad Jenkins replaced him and pitched 3 1/3 innings, allowing one hit.

Correia was replaced by left-hander Brian Duensing after Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro led off the seventh with his second single of the game.

Pinch-hitter Steve Tolleson struck out and pinch-hitter Kevin Pillar forced Navarro at second before shortstop Jose Reyes extended his hit streak to 11 games with a single to left. But left fielder Melky Cabrera lined out to third to end the threat.

Right-hander Jared Burton took over in the eighth and set the Blue Jays (39-27) down in order.

Left-hander Glen Perkins pitched the ninth for the Twins.

Dozier hit his first-inning homer to left on an 0-1 changeup to give the Twins a 2-0 lead. His 14th homer of the season scored center fielder Danny Santana, who led off the game with a walk. Santana and Dozier both homered to start Monday’s game, which the Blue Jays won 5-4.

The Twins scored twice more in the fourth. They loaded the bases on an infield single by designated hitter Kendrys Morales, a walk by right fielder Oswaldo Arcia and a single by third baseman Eduardo Nunez.

Happ struck out catcher Kurt Suzuki and shortstop Eduardo Escobar, but Santana trickled an RBI single to third baseman Juan Francisco, who threw wildly to first, allowing the second run to score. Jenkins replaced Happ and escaped the inning without further damage.

NOTES: Twins OF Aaron Hicks (right shoulder) tried throwing during early batting practice on Tuesday, but his shoulder still bothered him. Manager Ron Gardenhire said that if it does not improve by Wednesday, Hicks would be sent home for further examination. He was available to pinch hit or run but not play in the outfield. ... Twins OF Sam Fuld (concussion) was scheduled to play his third game on a rehabilitation assignment Tuesday at Double-A New Britain after the team had Monday off on the schedule.

RHP Marcus Stroman (3-0, 5.40 ERA) will start for Toronto against Minnesota RHP Phil Hughes (6-2, 3.46 ERA) in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon