09/03/08 1:21 AM ET
Gaston not defining Jays as spoilers
Toronto (71-66) vs. Minnesota (77-61), Wednesday, 7:07 p.m. ET
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
"I don't think that way," Gaston said. "I'd like to see us finish up well. If that means being a spoiler by finishing well, then so be it. But, I'm not intentionally going to think that way. I'd just like to see us play well the rest of the way and just put people on notice that next year they're going to have to look out for us."
On Wednesday, the Blue Jays will continue their three-game series against the Twins, who have lost all four games they've played against Toronto this season. Minnesota -- currently in the hunt for both the American League Central and Wild Card crowns -- watched the Blue Jays rally from a four-run deficit to claim a 7-5 victory on Tuesday.
Even so, Gaston is impressed with how the Twins have performed this season. Over the winter, Minnesota lost star center fielder Torii Hunter to the Angels in free agency and traded ace Johan Santana to the Mets. The expectations were low coming into the year -- much like Minnesota's payroll.
Still, the Twins -- no doubt aided by the struggles of the Tigers and Indians this season -- are in the thick of the playoff race.
"They have just been absolutely fantastic," Gaston said. "I'd like to go over there and get their secret. ... You get rid of two guys like Hunter and Santana, and you'd expect that team wouldn't be where they are today. But, once again, they're right there again. I have a lot of respect for those guys."
While Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi shared Gaston's sentiment, he also pointed out that the Twins have benefited from the division they play in.
"They've been blessed with some really good players," Ricciardi said. "But I'll switch divisions if they want. Everybody was talking about the Central being the strongest division in baseball and, once again, the American League East is the strongest division in baseball.
"But, they do a good job over there. They draft well and they develop well."
TOR: RHP A.J. Burnett (16-10, 4.48 ERA)
Burnett is 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA in three career outings vs. Minnesota.
Blackburn is 3-5 with a 4.47 in 15 appearances on the road this year. Tidbits
The Blue Jays are on the hunt for a new site for their Triple-A affiliate for the 2009 season and the club is hoping Buffalo, N.Y., could be an option. On Tuesday, the Indians informed Major League Baseball that they are ending their partnership with Buffalo. Toronto, following a 31-year connection with Syracuse, is moving on as well. "It would be ideal for us," said Ricciardi, referring to a move to Buffalo. "But right now we're not going to really comment on what we're trying to do." ... Through 250 career starts, Toronto ace Roy Halladay has posted a 125-62 record for a .668 winning percentage. Over the past 40 seasons, that's the sixth-highest winning percentage for a pitcher in his first 250 starts, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The top five are Pedro Martinez (.698, 134-58), Dwight Gooden (.697, 136-59), Roger Clemens (.688, 141-64), Ron Guidry (.686, 140-64) and Tim Hudson (.669, 121-60). ... The Blue Jays extended their franchise-best errorless streak to 13 consecutive games on Tuesday. That marks the longest in the Majors this season and the longest such run by an AL team since the Red Sox went 17 games in a row without an error from June 11-30, 2006. Tickets
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Thursday: Blue Jays (Jesse Litsch, 9-8, 4.01) vs. Twins (Kevin Slowey, 11-8, 3.70), 7:07 p.m. ET
Friday: Blue Jays (Roy Halladay, 17-9, 2.69) vs. Rays (Andy Sonnanstine, 13-6, 4.61), 7:07 p.m. ET
Saturday: Blue Jays (Shaun Marcum, 8-6, 3.60) vs. Rays (James Shields, 12-8, 3.66), 1:07 p.m. ET
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.