MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Mark Reynolds homered to start a five-run fifth inning and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Minnesota Twins 6-1 on Wednesday night.
In his first start in 11 days, Jeremy Guthrie pitched seven strong innings for the Orioles, who have won three straight games for the first time since winning four in a row from June 6-10. Baltimore has outscored Minnesota 18-3 in the three games.
Justin Morneau had an RBI double for the Twins, who have lost six of seven and 18 of their last 23 overall. Minnesota is 2 1/2 games ahead of last-place Kansas City in the AL Central.
Guthrie (6-16) has been dealing with some right shoulder soreness, and had given up 16 earned runs in his last three starts. The right-hander found his rhythm against a punchless Minnesota offense, allowing five hits and striking out five, the same number he struck out in his last three starts combined.
He wiggled out of a first-inning jam thanks to a diving two-out, bases-loaded stop by Ryan Adams and gave up consecutive doubles in the third before retiring 12 straight.
Michael Gonzalez struck out all three batters he faced in the eighth and has struck out all seven batters he’s faced this series.
In what has become an audition for 2012, Kevin Slowey (0-2) had his second straight unimpressive start for the Twins, allowing five earned runs in 4 2-3 innings. He allowed six earned runs and nine hits — including two home runs — in 5 2-3 innings against the Yankees on Friday.
Minnesota starters are 2-11 in their last 19 starts — with both wins by Francisco Liriano.
Slowey, who wants to be a starter in Minnesota or elsewhere next season, allowed one hit through four innings before Reynolds led off the fifth inning with a home run inside the left-field foul pole. After a single by Jake Fox, Nolan Reimold had an RBI triple and Adams added an RBI double. A two-run double by Matt Wieters ended Slowey’s night.
J.J. Hardy scored on a wild pitch in the ninth.
Minnesota right fielder Michael Cuddyer left the game in the first inning with a left wrist injury after being hit by a pitch from Guthrie. X-rays were negative and more tests are expected Thursday. Cuddyer leads the team in home runs and RBIs.
NOTES: Baltimore 3B Robert Andino made a barehanded catch of a foul pop-up by Morneau near the stands in the sixth inning. … The Orioles last won three straight in Minnesota Sept. 7-9, 1999. … Baltimore CF Adam Jones was back in the starting lineup after leaving Tuesday night’s game with an illness. “I feel 100 percent,” he said. … Orioles DH Vladimir Guerrero was a late scratch with a left wrist contusion. … Jim Thome, the reigning AL Player of the Week, went 0 for 3 and is 1 for his last 12. … Liriano (9-9) takes the hill for Thursday’s matinee. He threw seven innings of three-hit ball Saturday against the Yankees, allowing no earned runs. … Jo-Jo Reyes (6-10) is scheduled to start for Baltimore. In three starts for the Orioles since being picked up on waivers, Reyes has allowed 10 earned runs in 15 innings.
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