Twins beat Bedard, Orioles 11-3 to complete season sweep
BALTIMORE (AP)—The Minnesota Twins had just ended Erik Bedard’s nine-game winning streak and completed a season’s sweep of the Baltimore Orioles. While the hip-hop music resonated throughout the clubhouse, the Twins simultaneously celebrated their accomplishment and looked ahead to another challenge.
Next up for resurgent Minnesota: an important three-game series in Cleveland against the AL Central leaders.
Jason Bartlett hit two triples and had two RBIs Sunday in an 11-3 victory that enabled the third-place Twins to bring some momentum into Jacobs Field.
“Everybody is swinging the bat well. Hopefully we’ll take it to Cleveland,” said Rondell White, who capped the blowout with a two-run homer in the ninth.
Minnesota finished 7-0 against Baltimore this year. The Twins’ only previous season sweeps in the AL were against Tampa Bay in 2003 and 2005.
Minnesota’s first four-game sweep of Baltimore—at home or away—extended its overall winning streak to five. The Twins have won nine of 12 to get within 5 1/2 games of Cleveland.
Freddie Bynum had three hits for the Orioles, who have been outscored 70-20 during a six-game losing streak that began the day the team announced manager Dave Trembley would return in 2008.
“Didn’t pitch good enough. Didn’t hit well enough. Didn’t play well enough. Didn’t coach well enough. Didn’t manage well enough,” Trembley said. “We put ourselves in a position to get exactly what happened.”
Bedard (13-5) was 9-0 in his last 12 starts and was unbeaten since June 10, but he struggled from the outset in falling to 0-5 lifetime against the Twins. The left-hander gave up six runs, six hits and a career high-tying five walks in six innings.
“Well, they’re a good hitting team. They go with the pitch,” Bedard said. “If it’s outside they go the other way. And they’re real patient.”
Bedard has yielded six runs only three times this season—twice against Minnesota. He struck out three to increase his AL-leading total to 221, an Orioles single-season record (topping Mike Mussina’s 218 in 1997).
That, perhaps, was the lone bright spot for Baltimore. The Orioles had been swept in a season by an AL foe only twice before: by Kansas City in 1988 (0-12) and Oakland in 2004 (0-7).
Kevin Millar went 0-for-4, ending his club-record run of reaching by hit, walk or hit by pitch at 52 consecutive games. The streak, which began June 20, was tied for the seventh-longest in the majors since 1957.
Millar’s best chance came in the fifth inning, when he sent a drive to center that Torii Hunter caught with a leap at the wall.
“Another foot-and-a-half and I’ve got a homer,” Millar said. “But it was a great run while it lasted. It was a blast, but good things come to an end.”
Minnesota starter Scott Baker (7-6) allowed seven hits and three runs, two earned, in six innings. The right-hander flew in from Louisiana to rejoin the team after his wife gave birth to a boy Friday night.
“Sometimes it’s tough to go in and pitch when something like this happens,” he said. “I’m glad everything worked out.”
The Twins took a 4-0 lead after two innings, then allowed Baltimore to creep within a run before pulling away.
Jason Tyner hit a run-scoring grounder and Nick Punto added a sacrifice fly in the sixth, and Minnesota added two more in the seventh against Paul Shuey. Bartlett tripled and scored on a double by Hunter, who came home on a single by Mike Redmond.
Redmond hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth before White homered.
At that point, it was time to start thinking about Cleveland.
“I’ve already heard rumors that they want to just go ahead and put the coffin doors shut on us,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We’re going into town and trying to keep the coffin door open. That’s all we can do.”
Bedard began his trying afternoon by walking Alexi Casilla and striking out Bartlett to pass Mussina. Casilla took third on a single by Hunter, and both runners advanced when catcher Paul Bako threw into center field trying to nail Hunter at second on an attempted steal. Justin Morneau followed with a sacrifice fly.
A two-run triple by Bartlett made it 4-0 in the second.
Baltimore took advantage of errors by right fielder Michael Cuddyer and Casilla at second base to close to 4-2 in the third. Singles by Aubrey Huff and Bynum preceded a sacrifice fly by Bako in the Baltimore fourth.
The Twins recalled catcher Chris Heintz from Triple-A Rochester to provide another backup to injured Joe Mauer, who strained his left hamstring Saturday night. … Bedard’s five walks were one more than in his previous four starts this month.