While it was a rough outing for Santana, he didn't get much help early from the newly rebuilt Twins offense, either. Halladay effectively shut down the club's bats for five innings after the Twins scored a run in the first on a sacrifice fly by designated hitter Rondell White. Minnesota tallied only two hits over the stretch. Halladay threw a total of 7 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits."He's one of the best in the game," White said of Halladay. "We knew we had to battle when we came in. We just fell short. We had a chance to score more runs against him, but he found a way to shut us down just enough." The Twins did manage to get to Halladay a little bit when they began a comeback in the seventh inning. Tony Batista hit his first home run of the season, a towering shot to left that put the Twins within reach. Shannon Stewart added his first long ball of the season in the eighth to make it a 4-3 game. But the run ended in the bottom of the eighth, when Jesse Crain gave up a two-run homer to Blue Jays right fielder Alex Rios to put the Blue Jays up, 6-3. It may not have been the outcome that the Twins had hoped for, but there were some positive signs to be taken out of the loss. Most notably, it was the re-emergence of Stewart. From his leadoff single in the first that set up the team's first run to the home run late in the game, Stewart was the lone bright light in an offense that otherwise sputtered to only five hits. He accounted for over half of the hits as he finished the game at 3-for-4. The home run in the eighth marked his first in 269 at-bats dating all the way back to last June 25, when he homered in a game against Milwaukee. An injury-plagued 2005 season limited Stewart's ability to help drive the Twins' offense, and even though it didn't translate into a win on Tuesday, center fielder Torii Hunter believes that the performance should be taken as a good first sign that there could be improvements to the offense. It didn't come on a day against a tough pitcher like Halladay, but Hunter believes a change is coming. "Everybody knows if Shannon stays healthy, he can get you two or three hits to get [the offense] going," Hunter said. "He's an igniter and we need him in the lineup. If he stays healthy, we can do a lot."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.