Orioles settle for split in doubleheader vs. Twins

Guthrie picks up first win of season in Game 1

Millwood still searching for first victory after Game 2 loss

  • Jeremy Guthrie delivers against the Twins.
Jeremy Guthrie delivers against the Twins. (AP photo )
May 09, 2010|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

MINNEAPOLIS — Kevin Millwood watched Game 1 of the day/night doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday and saw something that he has been completely unfamiliar with since joining the Orioles.

In a 7-3 victory over the Twins at Target Field, the Orioles pounded out 12 hits off Francisco Liriano, giving starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie more run support than he needed in his first victory of the season.

Millwood was looking for his first win as well, but the Orioles couldn't carry the offensive momentum into the nightcap and they were shut down by Scott Baker in the Twins' 6-1 victory before an announced 38,683.

"Very long day," said Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, who went 3-for-8 with an RBI in the two games. "We came out and took the first one. I think that's the most important one, but we had the opportunity to take both and we didn't. We had our ace [Millwood] on the mound and he went out there and threw great and we were unable to get more runs than them. It [stinks]. He goes out there and battles his [butt] off every time and we get him no runs."

The Orioles, who clinched no worse than a four-game series split with the win in Game 1, have scored only 12 runs during Millwood's seven starts. The veteran right-hander fell to 0-4 on the season and 0-8 in 13 career starts against the Twins, just one of three teams Millwood has never beaten.

"All in all for me to go out against those guys and give up three runs in seven innings, I don't feel great about it, but those guys to me are kind of like the '27 Yankees," Millwood said. "They beat me up pretty good. Baker threw a great game. What can you do?"

Millwood surrendered three runs over seven innings, but he was stung by a leadoff walk to Orlando Hudson in the sixth that led to two runs. Michael Cuddyer's double-play ball with the bases loaded and no outs broke the 1-1 tie, and Delmon Young tacked on another run with a two-out RBI single. The Twins then tacked on three more in the eighth

Baker struck out eight over eight dominant innings and allowed his only run on Luke Scott's fifth inning homer. Baker allowed just two other hits and one of them was a result of a miscommunication between Cuddyer in right field and center fielder Denard Span on Matt Wieters' fourth-inning flyball.

While Baker is an accomplished pitcher in his own right and is 4-0 in six career starts against the Orioles, the Twins' pitcher that figured to give the Orioles (9-22) the most problems was Liriano.

The left-hander allowed three total runs in all of April. He didn't allow a run in three straight outings and he was just one start removed from a stretch of 23 consecutive scoreless innings. Plus, he is left-handed.

But the Orioles got production out of their leadoff spot, eight hits in 16 at-bats with runners in scoring position and six two-out hits, three things that have been missing all season.

Guthrie also did his part, allowing three runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings to beat the Twins, and pick up his first victory since Sept. 6 of last year.

"I strive to go out there and help our team win each time and it's nice to be able to contribute in the win," said Guthrie, who had lost eight straight decisions, including four this season. "We got a lot of hits. It speaks volumes about our hitters today and that's the reason we won this game."

Guthrie, who allowed a two-run homer to Justin Morneau in the first inning and a solo shot to Cuddyer in the fourth, had gotten just 11 runs of support while he had been on the mound during his first six starts. But the Orioles scored two runs in the third inning on Nick Markakis' RBI single, and three more in the fifth with off Liriano, who entered the game 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA, but allowed five earned runs and 10 hits over six innings Saturday.

The Orioles scored six of their seven runs with two outs. In doing so, they improved to 2-8 against left-handed starters this season.

"I remember managing against [Liriano] when he was in Triple-A and I bunted off him in the first inning because we weren't going to get a whole lot of runs off him," said Orioles manager Dave Trembley. "He's very tough, but sometimes you have to find a way and sometimes the breaks got to go your way. They did today. We've been hitting a lot of balls on the button and they're not falling in. We got some balls today that didn't exactly look pretty, but they gave us good results."

Trembley's decision to finally remove Jones from the leadoff slot, and insert second baseman Julio Lugo there, paid immediate dividends as Lugo went 3-for-5 with an RBI. That made him 7-for-13 over his past three starts heading into the second game of the doubleheader, where he was again hitting leadoff.

"I've always hit. I'm a good hitter," said Lugo, who the Orioles acquired late in spring training from the St. Louis Cardinals. "It's just a matter of time. You have to get your timing and I've been working. When I came here from St. Louis, there were just too many things going on for me."

Lugo went 1-for-4 in the nightcap, but he was hardly the only Oriole who struggled against Baker.

"We're in a position to win three out of four," Trembley said. "I haven't been able to say that very often as of late, and to do it on the road against a good team. We got [Brian] Matusz going so we will take our chances and see if we can come up with a combination in the lineup that can give us a little more offense. That's all you can do."

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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