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MIN@TOR: Redmond allows one hit over five to earn win

TORONTO -- If the Blue Jays knew all along that Todd Redmond was going to be the stop gap for the club's recent woes, they may have turned to the 28-year-old sooner.

Toronto's starting staff had allowed 25 runs, 20 earned, in 25 2/3 innings over their previous five games. However, Redmond, in his second Major League start, had little trouble with the Twins' lineup.

Redmond took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, and the Blue Jays' offense struck for three home runs as Toronto defeated Minnesota, 11-5, on Sunday in front of 43,795 at Rogers Centre.

"Couldn't be happier. First win in my Major League career, it's a dream come true," Redmond said. "[But] I have to give all the credit to the hitters today, bailing me out of that little fifth-inning stretch I had. They played awesome."

Redmond, 28, has had a long journey to the big leagues. Since turning pro in 2005, the 6-foot-3 Florida native has pitched more than 1,200 innings in the Minors, compared with 11 in the Majors entering Sunday.

However, Redmond impressed over five innings in his debut start for the Blue Jays.

"He knows the situation; he's here filling in, an opportunity to start, but shoot, he couldn't have done a better job," Toronto skipper John Gibbons said. "He did a great job; he really did."

Redmond was starting in place of the recently designated Chien-Ming Wang, and over four innings, he allowed just two walks to bring a no-hit bid into his fifth and final frame.

"It always crosses your mind, but I knew I just wanted to keep the game close so we'd have a chance to win," Redmond said of his brief brush with history. "You always see it, because you're looking up at who's up in the lineup next, and who's coming up in the order."

However, the no-hit bid ended quickly -- and loudly -- in the fifth. Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks struck a 2-1 fastball into the Minnesota bullpen in right field, tying the game at 2 after Redmond had allowed his third and final walk. The homer was the lone hit Redmond allowed.

"Giving up a home run, I don't want to do that in that situation," Redmond said. "Especially when we just take the lead. That's when you need to go out there and put up a zero. Unfortunately, I gave up a home run and tied the game, but once again, our hitters picked me up and put more on the board than they did."

Although the home run brought up the possibility of a no-decision, Jose Reyes made sure that was not the case.

In the bottom half of the frame, Reyes hit the fourth pitch he saw into the first deck in left field to lead off the fifth and retake the lead for the Blue Jays, 3-2.

"I feel like the only pitch I didn't execute today was the changeup to Reyes," said Twins starter Scott Diamond, who was making his second career start on his home Canadian soil. "I left that ball up in the zone. I paid the price for that one."

That was enough to give Redmond the first win of his career. The right-hander allowed two earned runs while striking out four over five innings.

His most impressive inning, however, might have been the first. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier reached on a walk to open the game, then made it to third on a stolen base and a throwing error from J.P. Arencibia, putting a runner 90 feet from home with none away. But Redmond struck out Joe Mauer and proceeded to induce two popouts to end the threat.

"After the first inning, I wasn't really sure what I had," Redmond said, adding that after getting out of a first-inning jam, "you settle down, nerves kind of settle down a little bit, adrenaline kind of gets out of the way. You can settle down and just make your pitches."

It ended up being a tough homecoming for Diamond, an Ontario native who allowed six earned runs, all via the long ball, on eight hits and four walks while striking out one in 4 2/3 innings.

His undoing began in that fifth frame. After the Reyes home run, Rajai Davis cleared the fences in left field for a three-run homer, opening up the floodgates offensively for Toronto.

"When guys get rolling, you just want to tap the next guy," Davis said. "I'm watching Reyes run around the bases, jog around the bases, looked like he was having fun. I wanted to have fun, too."

"Good to have a strong day where everybody was feeling good and some things went our way," added Colby Rasmus, who started the scoring with a two-run shot in the fourth.

With the win, the Blue Jays stopped the bleeding a little bit. After winning just one game in each of its previous three series, the club managed to come away with its first series victory since its winning streak ended at 11, going 5-9 in that stretch.

"I think it was a game we had to have to be honest with you," Gibbons said. "We needed it. If we're going to win, we need to score runs, that's no secret. ... But we broke loose today."

"It's always nice when you can win the series," Davis said. "Just want to keep that ball rolling and continue to win more series throughout the rest of the season."

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