Twins' Stewart homers in third straight game

TORONTO (AP) -- Kyle Lohse is doing what teammate Johan Santana
does, limiting his repertoire to three pitches and having success.

Lohse pitched seven strong innings, and Juan Castro and Shannon
Stewart hit back-to-back homers to lead the Minnesota Twins to a
4-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.

The 26-year-old right-hander was removed from the rotation in
early May so he could concentrate on three pitches instead of five.
He's allowed just seven runs in five starts since then, dropping
his ERA from 6.65 to 4.22.

"It's good enough for a Cy Young Winner in Johan, so I guess I
can try it," said Lohse of Santana, who also throws a fastball,
slider and changeup. "You just watch the command he has with those
pitches. He doesn't need to mess around."

Lohse (4-3) allowed just one run and six hits, while striking
out three and walking none. He's made three consecutive quality
starts, his first such stretch since Sept. 13-24, 2003.

"I worked on three pitches instead of five, and ever since then
it's been pretty good. My command has been great," Lohse said.

Minnesota has won eight of 11 to move 10 games over .500 for the
first time this season. Twins starters have pitched at least six
innings in 40 of 48 games this season.

"Lohse is throwing the ball fantastic," Minnesota manager Ron
Gardenhire said. "He's locating his fastball. His slider is
darting in and out and he's throwing a good changeup. We cut him
down to three pitches, and he's mastered those three pitches. I
think that's got him in a really nice groove."

Castro narrowly missed a home run in the fifth inning after his
ball hooked foul, but he hit David Bush's next pitch for his second
homer in two days.

Stewart followed with a home run into Toronto's bullpen, the
third time Minnesota has hit consecutive home runs this season. He
has homered in three straight games.

"I hope we keep it going," Castro said.

Lohse was struck on the right thigh by a line drive in the first
inning and stayed in the game. Joe Nathan allowed Aaron Hill's
two-run double with one out in the ninth inning, but he struck out
Russ Adams and got Gregg Zaun to foul out to third base for his
15th save in 17 chances.

"It got a little more exciting than we wanted it to get,"
Gardenhire said.

The Blue Jays have lost two straight after sweeping Boston in a
three-game series.

Bush (0-5), who hasn't won in 10 starts this season, allowed
four runs -- two earned -- and six hits in just 4 2-3 innings. He
pitched just three innings in his last start, and he's not happy
about manager John Gibbons' quick hook.

"I would like to stay in there a little longer," Bush said.

Minnesota's Michael Cuddyer walked in the second, advanced to
second on a passed ball and scored after first baseman Eric Hinske
dropped a throw for an error.

Castro followed with a single before Stewart hit an RBI single,
giving Minnesota a 2-0 lead.

Reed Johnson's RBI single in the third inning cut Toronto's
deficit to 2-1.

Game notes
Twins C Joe Mauer didn't start for the fourth straight game
because of a tight right groin. Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire
said Mauer probably won't play until Tuesday at the earliest. The
Twins have Monday off. ... Minnesota's Nick Punto singled in the
first to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. ... The Blue Jays
have won the season series just twice in six years and are just
10-15 at home against Minnesota since 1999.