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Minnesota at Baltimore

Scoreboard
Minnesota «0130200118192
Baltimore1102100005121

Hunter's homer helps Minnesota reduce magic number to three

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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BALTIMORE -- During a game in which Torii Hunter homered and Minnesota got 19 hits against the Baltimore Orioles, the most significant play in an uplifting victory for the Twins was a strikeout by Michael Cuddyer.

The swing-and-a-miss led to three runs, and Minnesota won 8-5 Saturday to inch closer to a playoff berth.

The outcome eliminated Boston from postseason contention and enabled the Twins to reduce their magic number for clinching a playoff spot to three. Any combination of Minnesota wins and Chicago White Sox losses totaling three will ensure the Twins no worse than the wild card.

Minnesota could also get in as the AL Central winners. The Twins remained 1½ games behind first-place Detroit, which routed Kansas City 15-4.

The game turned in the third inning, when Minnesota scored three runs to go up 4-2. With two on and two outs, Cuddyer whiffed on a breaking pitch in the dirt. But the ball got away from catcher Ramon Hernandez, who then threw it over the outstretched glove of first baseman Kevin Millar for an error.

Two runs scored on the play, and Justin Morneau hit Erik Bedard's next pitch up the middle for a single that scored Cuddyer.

"That was the best strikeout I've ever had. It ended up that way, at least," Cuddyer said. "It was exciting because it was two runs, and we were able to add to that."

It was a miserable day for Hernandez, who went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. But the play he will remember most was the throw that went awry.

"It slipped out of my hands and it got away," he said. "They scored three runs. When you make plays like that, you deserve to lose, I guess."

The Orioles came back to tie it, but Hunter put the Twins ahead for good with his 29th homer in the fifth inning after Cuddyer reached on a fielder's choice. Hunter, however, insisted that his home run wasn't nearly as important as Cuddyer's K.

"There's no doubt it was the turning point in the game. It put us up, and we were able to add to it," Hunter said. "It took some momentum from them and put some in our direction as well."

Morneau's run-scoring single following Hernandez's error gave him 126 RBI, tying Harmon Killebrew for the second-highest single-season total in Twins history. Killebrew had 140 in 1961 and 126 in 1962.

Chris Gomez got a pair of hits for the Orioles to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games, but Baltimore didn't have enough firepower to overcome a 4-for-4 performance by Rondell White and Hernandez's error.

"We didn't execute when we had to and it cost us several runs," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said.

Baltimore starter Erik Bedard (15-10) allowed a career-high 12 hits and three earned runs in 4 2/3 innings, which didn't help.

"We didn't help out in the field, and that makes for a not-so-good day," Perlozzo said.

Baltimore closed to 6-5 with an unearned run in the fifth against Matt Guerrier (1-0), who pitched 1 1/3 innings to earn his first win in 89 career appearances.

Nick Punto hit an RBI single in the eighth and Lew Ford singled in a run in the ninth.

Joe Nathan, the seventh Minnesota pitcher, got three outs for his 34th save.

"Our bullpen was huge," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We had lost a couple in a row, and didn't want to get into a rut. It was a big win for us."

The Orioles went up 1-0 in the first inning when Brian Roberts hit a leadoff single and scored on a two-out double by Miguel Tejada.

Minnesota tied it in the second. Cuddyer walked and went to third on a single by Hunter, who was called out at second trying for a double -- even though replays indicated he beat the tag. White followed with an RBI single.

In the bottom half, Jeff Fiorentino hit a sacrifice fly after a throwing error by shortstop Jason Bartlett and a double by Millar.

Notes

  • Twins 1B Phil Nevin left with a bruised left wrist. X-rays were negative.
  • Orioles strength and conditioning coach Tim Bishop announced that he will retire after this season, his 14th with the club.
  • It was Bedard's shortest stint since June 1.
  • Baltimore turned four double plays.
  • Tejada extended his hitting streak to 11 games and moved within five hits of tying Cal Ripken's club record for a season (211).
 
Copyright 2014 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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Don't expect Torii Hunter and the Twins to stay seated for this exciting postseason finish.  (AP)
Don't expect Torii Hunter and the Twins to stay seated for this exciting postseason finish. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

T. Hunter
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
Minnesota

R. White
AB 4
R 0
H 4
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Minnesota Twins
Luis Castillo, 2B3010211 .296
Nick Punto, 3B5131012 .293
Mike Redmond, C5120013 .343
Michael Cuddyer, RF3310211 .278
Justin Morneau, DH5011022 .322
Torii Hunter, CF5232001 .279
Rondell White, LF4041001 .244
    Lew Ford, PR-LF1011000 .223
Phil Nevin, 1B2010001 .243
    Terry Tiffee, 1B2010001 .244
Jason Bartlett, SS4110115 .319
Totals3981965718 
Batting
2B - Mike Redmond (13, Bedard), Torii Hunter (20, Lopez), Rondell White (16, Bedard)
HR - Torii Hunter (29, Bedard)
SH - Phil Nevin (1)
RBI - Nick Punto (44), Justin Morneau (126), Torii Hunter 2 (92), Rondell White (36), Lew Ford (17)
2-OUT RBI - Nick Punto (19), Justin Morneau (50), Torii Hunter 2 (42), Rondell White (18), Lew Ford (6)
SB - Michael Cuddyer (6, 2nd base off Hawkins/Hernandez)
CS - Luis Castillo (10, 2nd base by Ortiz/Hernandez), Torii Hunter (6, 2nd base by Hawkins/Hernandez)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
E - Jason Bartlett (12, ), Matt Guerrier (1, Nevin left the game with an injury)
Minnesota Twins
Scott Baker 3.2743010 6.37
Matt Guerrier (W,1-0) 1.1210210 3.27
Glen Perkins (H,1) 0.2100000 0.00
Pat Neshek (H,9) 0.1000000 2.43
Dennys Reyes (H,14) 0.2100010 0.92
Jesse Crain (H,9) 1.1100000 3.67
Joe Nathan (S,34) 1000010 1.71
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Baker 62-44, Matt Guerrier 27-15, Glen Perkins 13-8, Pat Neshek 5-4, Dennys Reyes 11-7, Jesse Crain 16-12, Joe Nathan 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Baker 6-5, Matt Guerrier 3-0, Dennys Reyes 1-0, Jesse Crain 2-2
Batters Faced - Scott Baker 19, Matt Guerrier 8, Glen Perkins 3, Pat Neshek 1, Dennys Reyes 3, Jesse Crain 5, Joe Nathan 3
Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B5120001 .296
Chris Gomez, 3B5021001 .333
Nick Markakis, RF5120003 .298
Miguel Tejada, SS5011002 .331
Jay Gibbons, DH4110101 .278
Ramon Hernandez, C5000032 .274
Corey Patterson, CF4230000 .273
Kevin Millar, 1B3011101 .262
Jeff Fiorentino, LF3001012 .250
Totals3951242413 
Batting
2B - Brian Roberts (33, Baker), Miguel Tejada (37, Baker), Kevin Millar (25, Baker)
3B - Corey Patterson (5, Baker)
SF - Jeff Fiorentino (1)
RBI - Chris Gomez (15), Miguel Tejada (95), Kevin Millar (59), Jeff Fiorentino (6)
2-OUT RBI - Chris Gomez (5), Miguel Tejada (40)
SB - Corey Patterson (44, 2nd base off Crain/Redmond)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jeff Fiorentino 2
DP - B. Roberts-Tejada-Millar, Gomez-B. Roberts-Millar, Tejada-B. Roberts-Millar, Fiorentino-B. Roberts
E - Ramon Hernandez (13, )
Baltimore Orioles
Erik Bedard (L,15-10) 4.21263241 3.67
Russ Ortiz 1.1000120 7.92
LaTroy Hawkins 1100010 4.47
Todd Williams 1311100 4.85
Rodrigo Lopez 0.2211100 5.90
Bruce Chen 0.1100000 6.52
Pitches-Strikes - Erik Bedard 89-58, Russ Ortiz 20-11, LaTroy Hawkins 19-12, Todd Williams 25-12, Rodrigo Lopez 19-12, Bruce Chen 5-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Erik Bedard 7-1, LaTroy Hawkins 1-0, Todd Williams 2-0
Batters Faced - Erik Bedard 26, Russ Ortiz 4, LaTroy Hawkins 3, Todd Williams 6, Rodrigo Lopez 4, Bruce Chen 2
Game Information
Attendance - 21980
Game Time - 3:30
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Brian O'Nora, First Base - Phil Cuzzi, Second Base - Chuck Meriwether, Third Base - Jerry Crawford