BALTIMORE -- During the postgame television interview, Matt Garza was slapped in the face with a shaving cream pie.
But his teammates also made sure he got the game ball and the lineup card, their way of saying thanks for a fine performance in which he earned his first major league win.
Torii Hunter homered for the Twins, who got 13 hits off Baltimore starter Rodrigo Lopez. The victory, combined with Chicago's 7-5 win over Detroit, kept Minnesota a half-game behind the White Sox in the AL wild-card race.
Garza (1-2) came in with an 11.74 ERA after losing his first two starts. The right-hander gave up five hits, had one strikeout and one walk.
"Our young guy did a heck of a job," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who was ejected in the fifth inning. "He threw the ball fantastic."
Garza, the 25th overall pick in the 2005 amateur draft, retired the side in order only once but was aided by several fine defensive plays.
In the second inning, shortstop Jason Bartlett dived in the hole to start a force play at second base. In the fourth, after Hunter made a leaping catch in center with Miguel Tejada on first, second baseman Luis Castillo dived behind the bag to snare a grounder by Conine to begin a force play.
Then, in the fifth, Cuddyer made a sprawling catch of a sinking liner to right by Nick Markakis with two outs and a runner on third.
Garza waited in the infield to give Cuddyer a high-five on his way to the dugout.
"I threw my breaking ball for strikes and let the defense do the work," Garza said. "It was a great feeling to have guys behind you do what they do. They made six or seven great plays tonight. It was awesome."
The next time, Garza won't have to worry about getting battered with shaving cream or seeking that elusive first big league victory.
"It takes the pressure off a little bit to get the first one out of the way," he said.
Joe Nathan, the fourth Minnesota reliever, worked the ninth for his 26th save.
Gardenhire was tossed from the game in the top of the fifth by plate umpire Angel Hernandez with Jason Kubel at bat. The ejection occurred while Gardenhire was in the dugout, and the manager emerged to plead his case -- to no avail.
"Even though I wasn't around much to see it, it was a great game for our ballclub," Gardenhire said.
Lopez (9-13) gave up four runs in six innings. He kept Minnesota hitless in only one inning, and the 13 hits he yielded were a season high.
"There were many ground balls and balls in the hole," Lopez lamented. "But I battled to keep my team in the game."
Markakis drove in the lone run for the Orioles, who had won five of six.
"They caught the ball. We hit a lot of good shots and they caught it," said Melvin Mora, who went 0-for-4. "He threw good enough to get people out, but he had a pretty good defense behind him."
The Twins went up 2-0 in the first inning when Cuddyer hit a two-out RBI double and scored on a single by Justin Morneau.
The Orioles scored an unearned run in the third when Markakis hit an RBI single after Bartlett booted a potential double-play grounder.
Hunter hit his 18th homer leading off the fourth. Joe Mauer doubled and scored on a single by Cuddyer to make it 4-1 in the fifth.
|Matt Garza allows no earned runs on five hits and strikes out one for his first career win. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Luis Castillo, 2B||5||0||2||0||0||1||2||.285|
|Nick Punto, 3B||5||1||1||0||0||1||3||.311|
|Joe Mauer, C||5||1||1||0||0||0||0||.357|
|Michael Cuddyer, RF||5||1||3||2||0||0||0||.269|
|Justin Morneau, 1B||4||0||1||1||1||1||1||.317|
|Torii Hunter, CF||3||1||2||1||1||0||1||.273|
|Jason Kubel, DH||4||0||0||0||0||3||5||.251|
|Jason Tyner, LF||4||0||2||0||0||0||0||.321|
|Jason Bartlett, SS||4||0||3||0||0||0||1||.353|
|2B - Joe Mauer (27, Lopez), Michael Cuddyer 2 (33, Lopez, Byrdak), Torii Hunter (17, Lopez), Jason Bartlett (15, T. Williams)|
|HR - Torii Hunter (18, Lopez)|
|RBI - Michael Cuddyer 2 (82), Justin Morneau (108), Torii Hunter (64)|
|2-OUT RBI - Michael Cuddyer (44), Justin Morneau (47)|
|CS - Luis Castillo (7, 2nd base by Lopez/Hernandez), Jason Tyner (2, 2nd base by Lopez/Hernandez)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|DP - Bartlett-Castillo-Morneau|
|E - Jason Bartlett (9, )|
|Matt Garza (W,1-2)||6||5||1||0||1||1||0||6.59|
|Pat Neshek (H,4)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.81|
|Dennys Reyes (H,9)||0.2||0||0||0||0||1||0||0.96|
|Juan Rincon (H,22)||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2.44|
|Joe Nathan (S,26)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||1.53|
|WP - Matt Garza (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Matt Garza 84-50, Pat Neshek 6-5, Dennys Reyes 9-6, Juan Rincon 8-6, Joe Nathan 13-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Garza 9-8, Pat Neshek 1-2, Dennys Reyes 1-0, Juan Rincon 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Matt Garza 24, Pat Neshek 3, Dennys Reyes 2, Juan Rincon 1, Joe Nathan 3|
|Brian Roberts, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.294|
|Nick Markakis, RF||4||0||1||1||0||1||1||.305|
|Melvin Mora, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.279|
|Miguel Tejada, SS||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.331|
|Jay Gibbons, DH||3||0||1||0||1||1||1||.281|
|Jeff Conine, LF||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.265|
|Corey Patterson, CF||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.272|
|Kevin Millar, 1B||3||1||1||0||0||0||0||.240|
|Ramon Hernandez, C||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.261|
|RBI - Nick Markakis (48)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Tejada-B. Roberts-Millar|
|Rodrigo Lopez (L,9-13)||6||13||4||4||0||3||1||6.03|
|WP - Tim Byrdak (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Rodrigo Lopez 96-66, Tim Byrdak 13-8, James Hoey 9-5, Todd Williams 11-8, Bruce Chen 10-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rodrigo Lopez 9-3, Tim Byrdak 1-1, Todd Williams 1-1, Bruce Chen 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Rodrigo Lopez 28, Tim Byrdak 4, James Hoey 2, Todd Williams 4, Bruce Chen 3|
|Attendance - 19258|
|Game Time - 2:44|
|Temperature - 89|
|Umpires - Home - Angel Hernandez, First Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Second Base - Sam Holbrook, Third Base - Randy Marsh|