Minnesota at Baltimore

W: B. Bonser (3-4) L: K. Benson (10-10)
HR: MIN - J. Morneau (32), T. Hunter (19)   BAL - R. Hernandez (16)

Cuddyer's perfect night helps Bonser snap winless streak

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

BALTIMORE -- The Minnesota Twins didn't use their two most effective starters, and still took two of three from the Baltimore Orioles.

Now it's on to Chicago for a wild-card showdown against the White Sox.

Michael Cuddyer went 4-for-4 with four RBI, Joe Mauer had three hits and drove in four runs, and Minnesota cruised past Baltimore 11-2 on Thursday night.

Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter homered for the Twins, who remained a half-game behind the White Sox in the AL wild-card race. Minnesota begins a three-game series against their AL Central rivals on Friday in Chicago.

"It's the team ahead of us. You go in there and you want to win a series against them," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We've been playing very good baseball. They're a tough team at home. It's tough to beat them."

As a tuneup the Twins outscored Baltimore 15-3 over the final two games of the series after losing the opener 6-3.

"We came in here and did what we had to do, win two out of three," Gardenhire said.

Boof Bonser (3-4) was solid in his 11th big league start for Minnesota. The rookie right-hander took a four-hit shutout into the seventh. Although he didn't make it out of the inning, Bonser earned his first win in five starts since June 24. He gave up two runs, seven hits and a walk in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out four.

It was the second straight night in which a Twins rookie pitcher shut down the Orioles. On Wednesday night, Matt Garza did not allow an earned run in six innings.

"These pitchers are feeding off each other. It's a good learning experience for young pitchers, pitching in a pennant race like this," Gardenhire said. "These are pick-'em-ups for the team."

And now they've got Brad Radke and Johan Santana ready to go against the White Sox.

"We were on a roll, playing well, and we missed their best two starters," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. "After winning the first one, I thought we were going to at least win the series."

Radke will pitch Friday night, followed by Santana against a Chicago team that beat Detroit 10-0 on Thursday.

"We've got some momentum going. They have momentum going as well," Cuddyer said. "So it should make out for a fun weekend."

Ramon Hernandez homered for Baltimore, his 16th of the season and first since June 28. Orioles starter Kris Benson (10-10) gave up six runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings.

"I've never seen him up in the zone as much as he was tonight," Perlozzo said. "He didn't command anything. It was not the usual Kris Benson outing."

But it was a familiar result: Benson is 1-5 in his last eight starts.

"I looked at the videotape and they hit some pretty good pitches, to tell you the truth," Benson said. "There's not much I can do with balls that are hit opposite field, two feet fair down the line.

"Right now, I think they're pretty hot. They hit some good pitches, they hit some bad pitches," Benson said. "They're in the position where they're at because they can hit the ball."

Three of the first four batters to face Benson got hits, staking Minnesota to a 2-0 lead. After Luis Castillo led off with a single, Mauer hit an RBI double and scored on a single by Cuddyer.

The Twins made it 5-0 in the third. Nick Punto singled and scored on a double by Mauer. After Cuddyer hit a sacrifice fly, Morneau hit his 32nd homer.

Castillo doubled and scored on a single by Mauer in the fourth, and Hunter led off the fifth with his 19th home run. The drive came off Bruce Chen, who has allowed 26 homers in 33 appearances.

Hernandez homered in the seventh off a tiring Bonser, who was pulled after allowing a two-out double to Brandon Fahey.

Minnesota added four runs in the eighth. After Mauer hit a sacrifice fly, Cuddyer tripled in two runs and scored on a fly ball by Morneau.

Cuddyer went 7-for-13 with seven RBI in the series and is batting .425 (17-for-40) in his last 10 games.


  • Baltimore's Miguel Tejada extended his hitting streak to 12 games, but grounded into his league-leading 25th double play.
  • Hunter is 8-for-20 with four homers and five RBI in his last seven games.
  • In his first game after being activated from the 15-day disabled list, Minnesota's Rondell White went 1-for-5.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Michael Cuddyer gets a pound from Jason Bartlett for his 4-for-4 night at the plate.  (AP)
Michael Cuddyer gets a pound from Jason Bartlett for his 4-for-4 night at the plate. (AP)

Players of the Game

J. Mauer
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 0

M. Cuddyer
AB 4
R 1
H 4
HR 0

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Minnesota Twins
Luis Castillo, 2B5330101 .288
Nick Punto, 3B-SS5220003 .313
Joe Mauer, C4234000 .361
Michael Cuddyer, RF4144000 .276
Justin Morneau, 1B3112003 .317
Torii Hunter, CF5121002 .274
    Lew Ford, CF0000000 .228
Rondell White, DH5010013 .224
Jason Tyner, LF5010012 .317
Jason Bartlett, SS3100100 .348
   a- Luis Rodriguez, PH-3B1000000 .233
a-grounded out for Bartlett in the 9th
2B - Luis Castillo (19, Benson), Joe Mauer 2 (29, Benson, Benson)
3B - Michael Cuddyer (5, Ortiz)
HR - Justin Morneau (32, Benson), Torii Hunter (19, Chen)
SF - Joe Mauer (6), Michael Cuddyer (5), Justin Morneau (10)
SH - Nick Punto (5)
RBI - Joe Mauer 4 (73), Michael Cuddyer 4 (86), Justin Morneau 2 (110), Torii Hunter (65)
2-OUT RBI - Joe Mauer (32)
Team LOB - 9
DP - Bartlett-Castillo-Morneau, Rodriguez-Castillo-Morneau
Minnesota Twins
Boof Bonser (W,3-4) 6.2722141 5.18
Dennys Reyes 0.1000000 0.96
Jesse Crain 1100020 4.30
Matt Guerrier 1100000 2.91
Pitches-Strikes - Boof Bonser 98-67, Dennys Reyes 5-3, Jesse Crain 12-9, Matt Guerrier 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Boof Bonser 4-11, Dennys Reyes 1-0, Jesse Crain 1-0, Matt Guerrier 1-1
Batters Faced - Boof Bonser 27, Dennys Reyes 1, Jesse Crain 4, Matt Guerrier 3
Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B4010002 .294
Nick Markakis, RF3010112 .306
Melvin Mora, 3B4010012 .279
Miguel Tejada, SS4010013 .330
Jeff Conine, 1B4110002 .265
Corey Patterson, CF4010022 .272
Ramon Hernandez, C3112010 .262
    Chris Widger, C1000001 .170
Kevin Millar, DH3010000 .241
   a- Chris Gomez, PH-DH1000000 .237
Brandon Fahey, LF3010001 .268
a-flied out for Millar in the 9th
2B - Miguel Tejada (32, Bonser), Brandon Fahey (8, Bonser)
HR - Ramon Hernandez (16, Bonser)
RBI - Ramon Hernandez 2 (71)
Team LOB - 6
E - Brandon Fahey (8, ), Corey Patterson (4, )
Baltimore Orioles
Kris Benson (L,10-10) 3.21066001 4.88
Bruce Chen 3.2544111 6.68
Russ Ortiz 1.2211110 9.06
HBP - Morneau (by Kris Benson)
Pitches-Strikes - Kris Benson 76-51, Bruce Chen 65-47, Russ Ortiz 26-18
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kris Benson 4-7, Bruce Chen 5-5, Russ Ortiz 1-3
Batters Faced - Kris Benson 22, Bruce Chen 17, Russ Ortiz 8
Game Information
Attendance - 24848
Game Time - 2:49
Temperature - 85
Umpires - Home - Hunter Wendelstedt, First Base - Sam Holbrook, Second Base - Randy Marsh, Third Base - Angel Hernandez