BALTIMORE (AP) _ During a season in which very little has gone right for the Baltimore Orioles, interim manager Juan Samuel uttered a phrase that hasn’t been heard often, if at all, during his postgame interview.
“Flawless game by our club,” Samuel said after the Orioles beat the Minnesota Twins 3-2 Friday night.
Baltimore got a solid performance from starter Jeremy Guthrie, and the bullpen held the lead. Luke Scott hit a pivotal two-run homer and the defense was strong right down to the final out, when third baseman Miguel Tejada made a barehanded pickup of a dribbler down the line and threw out pinch-hitter Danny Valencia.
It all added up to Baltimore’s second win in eight games since the All-Star break. Rarer still, the Orioles improved to 3-50 when scoring fewer than four runs.
Guthrie (4-10) gave up two runs and six hits, striking out six, to earn his first win since May 25. The right-hander was 0-6 in his previous nine starts and had gone six straight outings without pitching seven innings.
The Twins put runners at the corners with two outs in the eighth against Will Ohman before David Hernandez got Michael Cuddyer to fly out to Adam Jones at the center-field wall.
“My first reaction was, ‘Oh, shoot,”’ Hernandez said. “Then I saw Jonesey along the wall going after it, and when he came down with it, I was like, ‘Whew.’ I didn’t want to be that guy in the clubhouse that cost the team the game.”
Said Cuddyer: “I hit it OK. I wasn’t really banking on it. It wasn’t one of those no-doubters, but I thought it had a chance.”
Alfredo Simon worked the ninth for his 14th save.
“We made all the plays we needed to at the right times, and that led to the win,” Guthrie said. “The bullpen comes down, David gets a big out. Simon does a great job in the ninth. I think that’s what I would see as a flawless game. Everybody did their part.”
Joe Mauer gave the Twins a 2-1 lead with a two-run homer in the sixth, but Scott answered with a two-run drive in the bottom half off rookie Anthony Slama (0-1) to put Baltimore ahead for good.
“They all feel good under any circumstances,” Scott said, “but those do feel a little bit better. It’s good for Jeremy. He did a great job for us, pitched his heart out. It was really satisfying to get him a win.”
Baltimore second baseman Brian Roberts was activated from the 60-day disabled list before the game and went 0 for 4 in his first game since April 9. He had been sidelined with back and abdomen injuries.
“It was fun to be back out there, to be with the guys, play a good game and get out there and have fun,” Roberts said.
On a night the Orioles got their second baseman back, the Twins might have lost theirs for an extended period. Orlando Hudson left in the third inning with a muscle strain near his right rib cage, and there’s no telling how long he’ll be out.
“We’re going to give him a day here and see how he feels,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Normally this is a thing you end up on the DL (for) a couple of weeks, if not more. We just don’t know how bad it is.”
Hudson was replaced by Alexi Casilla, who singled before Mauer hit his fifth homer of the season.
Leaving the bullpen to make his first start of the season, Minnesota’s Brian Duensing allowed one run and four hits in five innings.
The Orioles used singles by Tejada, Scott and Jones to go up 1-0 in the first inning. Jones’ RBI hit ended the team’s 0-for-15 skid with runners in scoring position.
Ty Wigginton hit his first triple since August 2008 with two outs in the third, but was stranded when Scott struck out.
NOTES: Twins 3B Nick Punto made an outstanding play in the sixth, diving to the line to snare a grounder by Jones before making a perfect throw from his knees to get the out. … Wigginton received a three-game suspension and a fine for making contact with umpire Gary Darling on Thursday night. He appealed the punishment, which enabled him to play Friday. … The Twins held the opposition scoreless for 19 innings before the Orioles scored in the first. … Orioles RF Nick Markakis was given the night off. It was the second game he missed this season _ the other came on the night his wife gave birth to a baby boy.