MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—The Baltimore Orioles have been good at bouncing back from difficult defeats, in the eyes of manager Sam Perlozzo. He watched them do just that, with a late scare for some extra excitement.
“I’ve had plenty of dental visits less painful than that,” Perlozzo said. “My heart and stomach are still jumping.”
Melvin Mora drove in a run with one of his three hits, Ramon Hernandez doubled twice and had two RBIs, and Tejada drove in three. Michael Cuddyer’s seventh-inning grand slam for the Twins, his second in four days, merely cut an 8-0 lead in half.
Joe Mauer, who went 2-for-3 with two walks to raise his average to .388, was part of a two-run ninth-inning rally that fell short against closer Chris Ray. Mauer reached base safely four times for the fifth straight game—the Elias Sports Bureau was researching whether that was a major league record.
“He’s hit an area where they don’t even know there’s records for right now. That just tells you where he’s at,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.
“This club has been as resilient as any I’ve seen off tough losses,” Perlozzo said. “Those are signs that your ballclub is getting on the right track.”
Cabrera (4-2), making his second appearance since a three-week stint on the disabled list due to shoulder inflammation, won for the third time in six starts. He has thrown 11 innings this month without giving up a run, though he has walked 11 batters.
Getting Minnesota to ground into a pair of double plays and stranding eight runners, six in scoring position, Cabrera escaped unscathed while allowing five hits and six walks. He struck out five.
“If he throws strikes he’s unhittable,” teammate Kevin Millar said. “Devastating slider. Devastating sinker. It’s almost hopeless to right-handers.”
After falling a season-worst six games under .500 with Friday’s 7-5 defeat in 12 innings, Baltimore had a three-run first against Carlos Silva (2-8).
Brian Roberts hit an RBI single in the fifth and Millar doubled home a run in the sixth as Silva struggled again in his second start since a three-week banishment to the bullpen. He gave up 10 hits, five runs and one walk in six innings with two strikeouts—and actually lowered his ERA three points to 7.73.
Silva went 14-8 with a 4.21 ERA in 2004 and 9-8 with a 3.44 ERA in 2005, his first two seasons as a starter. This year, he has allowed 99 hits in 64 innings.
Roberts began the game with a double, immediately moved up on Brandon Fahey’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Mora’s single. Then Tejada sent a 1-1 pitch from Silva sailing high into the seats in left field for his 15th homer and a quick 3-0 Orioles lead.
Silva was satisfied with the way he threw, save for the mistake to Tejada.
“I felt really good,” Silva said.
Patience is the key to beating the hard-throwing Cabrera, the AL walks leader who is 4-1 in six career starts against Minnesota. But the Twins consistently wasted chances to chip away at their early deficit, even after loading the bases with none out in the first on two walks and a single.
Ever-eager cleanup hitter Torii Hunter popped out to third on a 1-1 pitch, and Cuddyer ended the inning with a double-play grounder to second. Runners were on in every inning against Cabrera, including a second-and-third situation with one out in the second.
Good defense helped. Tejada made a nifty stop of Hunter’s chopper up the middle with two on in the fifth and shoveled the ball in one motion to Roberts at second base. Replays showed the relay throw was late, but umpire Ed Rapuano called Hunter out for a double play.
“He was a little wild, but he’d just bear down when he got guys on base,” said Jason Kubel, who had three hits.
Minnesota hit three singles, one by Mauer, against John Halama before Cuddyer’s two-out shot in the seventh. Morneau, who is 5-for-8 with seven RBIs and three extra-base hits in the series, drove in another run in that inning against LaTroy Hawkins to cut the lead to 8-5.
But a three-run Baltimore seventh against reliever Kyle Lohse proved costly for the Twins, who recalled the right-hander from Triple-A on Friday. He hit Fahey with a pitch and yielded singles to Mora and Tejada before a two-run double by Hernandez gave the Orioles an 8-0 advantage.
Millar hit another RBI double off Lohse to make it 9-5.
Mauer has reached base in every home game except one, a 1-0 loss to the Royals on May 4. … The Orioles have executed six of their 14 sacrifice bunts this season over the last two games. … Lohse has hit six batters in nine games. His ERA spiked to 9.22. “We learn. We’ll get better,” he said.