Twins ace keeps Toronto off-balance this time

TORONTO (AP) -- Johan Santana thought he tipped his pitches the
last time he faced Toronto. He fixed that problem Friday night.

Santana pitched seven strong innings, and Shannon Stewart and
Juan Castro homered to lead the Minnesota Twins to 7-2 victory over
the Blue Jays.

The 2004 AL Cy Young Award winner allowed a season-high seven
runs in a 10-3 loss to the Blue Jays on May 17.

"It seemed like every pitch I threw, they had an idea what was
coming," Santana said. "So we tried to hide the ball better today
and do something different, and it worked."

Staked to a 7-1 lead in the third, Santana (6-2) allowed two
runs and four hits, struck out eight and walked two.

Santana was 0-2 with a 7.13 ERA in his last three starts against
the Blue Jays.

"They were able to tell what was coming," Santana said of the
game 10 days ago. "I think it was something with my hands because
they didn't swing at that many changeups."

Toronto manager John Gibbons denied Santana tipped his pitches
and said Friday's game "answered" that question.

Josh Towers (5-3) allowed a club-record 14 hits and gave up
seven runs -- five earned -- in six innings. The Twins tied their
season high with 16 hits.

Towers joked that he was proud of setting a record.

"That's awesome. I'm in the records books then? People are
going to be able to read my name, that's great," Towers said. "I
would have made it a little bigger if he had let me go back out
there. He didn't let me though. I would have put that thing out of

Reed Johnson led off the bottom of the first with a single and
Frank Menechino followed with an RBI double, but Santana didn't
allow another hit until Shea Hillenbrand led off the seventh with a
double. Aaron Hill added an RBI single to score Toronto's other

"Santana came back and showed how good he is, especially after
they tagged him over there in Minnesota," Stewart said. "He made
some adjustments and made great pitches."

Matt Guerrier allowed one hit in two innings as Minnesota ended
Toronto's three-game winning streak.

Jacque Jones had a two-run single in the first, and Stewart hit
a solo homer, his seventh, in the second.

The Twins took a 7-1 lead in the third by scoring four runs on
Towers' run-scoring wild pitch, Mike Redmond's RBI single and
Castro's two-run homer. The Twins had five hits in the inning.

Towers had won four of his previous five starts.

"He was up too much, overthrowing it at times," said Gibbons,
who rested his bullpen by leaving Towers in the game. "Sometimes
you have to suck it up."

Game notes
Twins C Joe Mauer didn't start for the third straight game
because of a tight right groin. Manager Ron Gardenhire said the
Twins don't want to put Mauer on the disabled list unless they have
to. "He's still sore but he feels better," Gardenhire said.
"Hopefully, he'll get into a game here this weekend. ... Toronto
RHP Roy Halladay reported no stiffness a day after throwing on the
side. Halladay is scheduled to start on Sunday after being pushed
back a few days because of strained left side muscle. He was
originally scheduled to pitch Thursday, but threw on the side