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.
Hill singled in Overbay with two outs in the ninth.
- 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.