The Twins' offense finally awakened tonight, providing starter Johan Santana with some run support en route to a 7-2 victory over the Blue Jays. Santana pitched well, going seven innings and allowing 2 runs on 4 hits while striking out 8.
Shannon Stewart continues to be the team's best hitter by far, providing a dazzling 4/5 performance that included his seventh home run of the year, which he absolutely launched to left-center. Nick Punto has really fit well in the number 2 spot in the lineup, continuing his strong performance there with 3 hits. Heck, even Juan Castro got into the action with a 2-run bomb. Lew Ford had a couple more hits hitting third, and he has been great there... It will be interesting to see where Gardenhire places Joe Mauer when he returns to the lineup, because right now I don't see how you could supplant Punto or Ford the way they are playing.
Still, troubling trends persist. In the first inning, Torii Hunter again struck out with the bases loaded, on a pitch that was nearly a foot outside of the strike zone. Just before that, Justin Morneau hit a weak line drive to the second baseman. Morneau, who went 0/4 and was the only Twin without a hit in the game, is struggling mightily with pitchers that are working him outside constantly. He is trying to pull everything and it is resulting in weak line drives, pop-ups, and strikeouts. If he can't get it going, then this offense will never be able to be successful.