Pitching, defense lead O's to third straight win

Orioles 3, Twins 1

March 16, 2010|By Dan Connolly | dan.connolly@baltsun.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Six Orioles pitchers threw eight shutout innings against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday, but it was center fielder Jeff Salazar who should be credited with the save.

Salazar, a veteran signed to play center in Triple-A Norfolk, made several strong running catches in the Orioles' 3-1 win before an announced 8,232 at Hammond Stadium, including an over-the-back snag of a soaring fly ball by Michael Cuddyer to end the first inning.

Salazar's grab was the key play that settled starter David Hernandez, who threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing five hits and walking one. "I told Salazar, 'As long as you catch the ones going over your head, we'll be OK,' " Hernandez joked. "You can let the ones in front of you drop, we'll be fine. I'll take singles all day."

The Twins scored their lone run in the eighth against Dennis Sarfate, who threw two wild pitches, issued a walk and had a balk in one inning. The Orioles took the lead in the fifth when Justin Turner singled home Salazar. Chad Moeller, the leading candidate to be the club's reserve catcher on Opening Day, hit a two-run home run in the seventh against Clay Condrey to give the Orioles a 3-0 lead.

It was Moeller's second homer of the spring.

Following Hernandez's lead, relievers Alberto Castillo, Koji Uehara, Will Ohman and Matt Albers kept the shutout intact through the seventh. The Orioles (5-8) have won three straight Grapefruit League games.

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