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Twins blanked by Jays as offensive woes continue

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Scott Downs gave the Toronto Blue Jays
exactly what they needed in a spot start.

Downs worked five innings and Reed Johnson hit a two-run homer
for the second straight game to help the Blue Jays beat the Twins
4-0 Saturday night, handing the Twins their fifth straight home
loss and third straight overall.

The Twins grounded into five double plays to tie a club record
and had six overall. With one out in the third, Jason Bartlett was
caught running the bases after a flyout to right. Toronto's six
converted double plays, also tying a club record, were the most by
the Blue Jays since April 16, 1996, against Detroit.

"They just kept giving us ground balls," said Aaron Hill, who
went 3-for-4 with an RBI.

Downs alone got the Twins to hit into four double plays.

"When you want to stay in the game as long as you can,
especially making spot starts, the double play is your best bet,"
Downs said.

Downs (6-1) allowed four hits, struck out one and walked one in
his fourth start of the season as the Blue Jays' pitchers continued
to frustrate the Twins' offense. In the first three games of the
four-game series, Toronto has held Minnesota to one run and 17
hits.

"Your bats go silent, you get frustrated," said Torii Hunter,
who took a painful pitch to his left hand in the eighth but stayed
in the game. "We just can't get it done. I've seen better
pitching, but we just haven't gotten it done."

Downs entered the game 11-13 in his career as a starter with
no-decisions in each of his previous three starts. But he was
strong against Minnesota, and Brian Tallet, Brandon League and
Scott Schoeneweis combined for four innings of scoreless relief.

In his previous start, Downs lasted only two innings and gave up
two runs and six hits in a 6-3 win against Baltimore.

"I know I can keep the team in the game, whether I'm in the
bullpen or making spot starts," Downs said. "For the most part I
just kept the ball down and stayed ahead in the pitch count. They
put some decent swings on them, they were just hitting them into
the infield."

Twins starter Boof Bonser (2-4) wasn't too bad Saturday night
either, but the few mistakes he made were magnified by the lack of
run support. Bonser lasted 5 2-3 innings, giving up three runs and
seven hits while striking out five.

After the game, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Bonser would
remain in the starting rotation.

"It feels good," Bonser said. "But at the same time, I've
just got to go out there in my next start and do the same thing I
did tonight: Put up zeros."

Johnson hit a 2-1 pitch from Bonser in the third into the
left-field seats. Hill also scored on Johnson' ninth home run of
the season after hitting a leadoff single up the middle.

Johnson also hit a two-run homer in Friday's 7-1 victory against
rookie right-hander Matt Garza.

Then in the sixth, Lyle Overbay followed Troy Glaus' two-out
single with a double to center that made it 3-0. Bonser was pulled
for Pat Neshek, who struck out Alex Rios to end the inning.

Hill singled in Overbay with two outs in the ninth.

Game Notes
Hunter was scheduled to have X-rays taken for his hand on
Sunday morning. ... Hill's single in the seventh was the first hit
Neshek had allowed in 27 batters. ... Rios reached on an error in
the fourth, although replays showed 1B Justin Morneau may have
nicked Rios' heel with his glove for the out despite 3B Nick
Punto's low throw. Gardenhire unsuccessfully argued the call.