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Mauer returns as Baker helps Twins split doubleheader vs. Orioles

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Scott Baker helped the Minnesota Twins salvage their first doubleheader since 2007 by silencing the same Baltimore hitters that roughed up Francisco Liriano only hours earlier.

Baker worked eight sharp innings for his best start of the season as the Twins beat the Orioles 6-1 in the nightcap.

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Game 1: Orioles 7, Twins 3

In the opener, Nick Markakis drove in three of the five two-out runs off Liriano and Baltimore cruised to a 7-3 victory. The doubleheader made up for a rainout Friday night.

The two teams play the finale of their four-game series Sunday.

"We're in a position to win three out of four. I haven't been able to say that very often as of late," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.

After starting 2-16, the Orioles have won seven of 13 and looked impressive against Liriano, April's American League Pitcher of the Month. Markakis, Adam Jones and Julio Lugo went a combined 7 for 14 with five RBI against Liriano, but were 2 for 11 against Baker.

"I want to stay aggressive against a good-hitting team like this," Baker said. "You need to make good pitches early in the count, and that's the key. I was able to do that tonight."

Joe Mauer returned to the lineup in Game 2 for the first time since missing eight games with a bruised left heel. The reigning AL MVP drew a standing ovation as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning, but struck out with the bases loaded and the Twins leading 4-1.

Earlier in the day, Gardenhire had ruled out Mauer for the second game.

"The situation came up and you run him up there," the manager said. "It's pretty exciting, to tell you the truth, to run him up there and get that out of the way. He hadn't swung in a while."

Light-hitting Drew Butera followed Mauer with a two-run single, giving Baker (4-2) more than enough support. The Twins starter scattered three hits -- including a solo homer to Luke Scott in the fifth -- while winning for the first time since April 16.

"A good way to finish off a very, very long day," Gardenhire said.

Orioles starter Kevin Millwood (0-4) gave up three runs and seven hits over seven innings in Game 2, and dropped to 0-8 against Minnesota in 13 career starts.

"All in all for me to go out against those guys and give up three runs in seven innings, I don't feel great about it, but those guys to me are kind of like the '27 Yankees," Millwood said. "They beat me up pretty good. Baker threw a great game. What can you do?"

Notes

  • The last doubleheader the Twins played at home was in 2007, the result of a rescheduling following the fatal freeway bridge collapse near downtown. Baker pitched the night game that time, too, and took a perfect game into the ninth inning.
  • The Orioles hadn't played a doubleheader since the end of the 2008 season, a September twinbill against Tampa Bay.
 
Copyright 2015 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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The Twins' Scott Baker has his best start of the season, going eight strong innings against the Orioles.  (AP)
The Twins' Scott Baker has his best start of the season, going eight strong innings against the Orioles. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

D. Young
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
Minnesota

S. Baker
IP 8.0
H 3
ER 1
BB 0
K 8
 

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Baltimore Orioles
Julio Lugo, SS4010010 .244
Nick Markakis, RF4000011 .308
Matt Wieters, DH-C4010020 .273
Miguel Tejada, 3B3000001 .295
Ty Wigginton, 2B3000010 .284
Luke Scott, LF3111010 .183
Adam Jones, CF3010000 .227
Rhyne Hughes, 1B3000021 .237
Craig Tatum, C2000000 .067
   a- Garrett Atkins, PH1000001 .256
Totals3014108  
a-fouled out for Tatum in the 8th
Batting
HR - Luke Scott (4, Baker)
RBI - Luke Scott (9)
Team LOB - 2
Fielding
DP - Tejada-Hughes, Lugo-Hughes
Baltimore Orioles
Kevin Millwood (L,0-4) 7733340 3.26
Mark Hendrickson0122100 6.23
Matt Albers 1211110 6.14
IBB - Punto by Matt Albers
Pitches-Strikes - Kevin Millwood 111-65, Mark Hendrickson 12-5, Matt Albers 18-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kevin Millwood 9-6, Matt Albers 2-0
Batters Faced - Kevin Millwood 29, Mark Hendrickson 2, Matt Albers 6
Minnesota Twins
Denard Span, CF4000102 .256
Orlando Hudson, 2B3110111 .296
Justin Morneau, 1B3110111 .352
Jim Thome, DH3020100 .258
    Brendan Harris, PR-DH-SS0100000 .184
Michael Cuddyer, RF4110000 .286
Delmon Young, LF4232001 .280
Nick Punto, 3B3011112 .235
Alexi Casilla, SS3000001 .211
   a- Joe Mauer, PH1000013 .341
Drew Butera, C4012010 .118
Totals32610555  
a-struck out for Casilla in the 8th
Batting
2B - Delmon Young 2 (6, Millwood, Albers), Nick Punto (3, Millwood)
RBI - Delmon Young 2 (13), Nick Punto (6), Drew Butera 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Delmon Young (9), Nick Punto (3), Drew Butera 2 (2)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Duensing-Harris-Morneau
Minnesota Twins
Scott Baker (W,4-2) 8311081 4.57
Brian Duensing 1100000 1.42
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Baker 97-71, Brian Duensing 9-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Baker 11-5, Brian Duensing 2-0
Batters Faced - Scott Baker 27, Brian Duensing 3
Game Information
Attendance - 38863
Game Time - 2:23
Temperature - 51
Umpires - Home - Brian Gorman, First Base - Ted Barrett, Second Base - Tony Randazzo, Third Base - Scott Barry