BALTIMORE (AP) -- Limited to two hits over seven innings, the
Minnesota Twins pulled even on a rally fueled by two walks and a
bunt that rolled about 50 feet from the plate.
Mike Cuddyer then gave Minnesota the lead in the ninth with a
no-doubt shot that traveled farther than anything he had hit over
the past five weeks.
Cuddyer's two-run homer capped an improbable comeback by the
Twins, who managed only four hits Tuesday night in a 3-1 victory
over the Baltimore Orioles.
Pitching in the majors for the first time since July 2, Orioles
starter Matt Riley baffled the AL Central-leading Twins before
being lifted after walking the first two batters in the eighth with
Baltimore up 1-0.
Jason Grimsley then gave up a bunt single to Shannon Stewart,
who was trying to sacrifice the runners along but reached when the
pitcher hesitated before moving toward the ball. That loaded the
bases for Lew Ford, who hit into a 4-6-3 double play that enabled
pinch-runner Augie Ojeda to score from third.
Minnesota took control in the ninth against Jorge Julio (2-4).
Pinch-hitter Jason Kubel drew a one-out walk, and after Cristian
Guzman hit a fly ball, Cuddyer drove a 1-0 pitch deep into the
"That was a big home run there at the end," Twins manager Ron
Gardenhire said. "The ball wasn't carrying great tonight, so
Michael really had to get into the ball to hit that one out."
It was Cuddyer's ninth home run, the first since July 31.
"It's been a while since I had one, that's for sure," he said.
"It was a fastball right down the middle. He fell behind and I
knew he was a fastball pitcher."
Julio then threw a high inside pitch that nearly hit Ojeda in
the head, and plate umpire Ron Kulpa promptly ejected the
"I never tried to hit the guy," Julio insisted. "I don't know
why he threw me out."
Gardenhire saw it differently.
After letting loose with a string of profane words, he said, "I
don't know to put it in the newspapers for you, but the guy ought
to be suspended, throwing a 98 mph fastball at a guy's head like
J.C. Romero (7-1) pitched a scoreless eighth for the Twins,
extending his club-record run of shutout innings to 34, and Joe
Nathan worked a perfect ninth for his 39th save.
Twins starter Brad Radke allowed one run and five hits in seven
innings while locked in a duel with Riley, who entered with an 8.39
ERA. Radke extended his run of scoreless innings to 13 before
Baltimore got a run in the sixth on a two-out single by David
Newhan and a double by Melvin Mora.
Riley began the season in the Orioles' starting rotation, but
was sent to the minors on July 2 immediately after a game against
the Phillies in which he yielded five runs in one-plus innings. The
demotion came in part because he took an unauthorized trip to
Baltimore after being sent to Philadelphia ahead of the team.
Upon his return this week, the left-hander apologized to his
teammates and manager Lee Mazzilli, who forgave the pitcher and
awarded him a spot start. Asked before the game what it would take
for Riley to keep his place in the rotation, Mazzilli quipped, "A
Riley kept the Twins hitless until the fifth inning, when Guzman
grounded a leadoff single into left field. He failed to advance.
Torii Hunter hit a two-out single in the sixth, but Justin
Morneau followed with a foul pop.
Riley pitched a perfect seventh but was undone by his two walks
in the eighth. He finished with four strikeouts and five walks.
"It was a good start toward trying to show I belong here," he
said. "I just ran out of juice in the eighth. I don't think any of
us knew that would happen until I got out there."
Mazzilli planned to keep Riley in for one batter in the eighth,
but also allowed him to face Henry Blanco, who wanted to bunt but
drew a walk, ending Riley's night.
If Baltimore had capitalized against Radke earlier, the outcome
might have been different.
Newhan hit a leadoff triple in the Baltimore fourth, but was
thrown out at the plate trying to score on Mora's grounder to
Newhan joined the Orioles on June 18, but he has six of the
team's 14 triples. He turned 31 on Tuesday. ... The Twins improved
to 11-45 when scoring three runs or fewer.