Orioles 6, Twins 5
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Mike Mussina found the right opponent to break out of his recent funk.
Mussina pitched six strong innings to win for the second time in seven starts as the Baltimore Orioles held on to beat the Minnesota Twins 6-5 on Tuesday night.
``There are some teams that you throw well against and some parks that you throw well in,″ Mussina said. ``I’ve been playing for almost 10 years and for most of that time I’ve been able to throw pretty well here.″
Given a six-run cushion, Mussina (9-13) struck out five and held Minnesota to four runs to improve his career mark against the Twins to 16-2. But he allowed 10 hits.
``He wasn’t sharp at all and struggled with his command all night long,″ Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. ``He got pitches up in the zone, and the Twins can swing the bats. They’re going to put those in play hard. So he struggled tonight, but it was good to get him a win.″
Ryan Kohlmeier pitched the ninth and allowed an RBI double to David Ortiz before notching his 10th save in as many opportunities.
The Orioles got to Twins starter J.C. Romero (2-5) early, as five of the first six batters reached base.
Brady Anderson led off the game with a single. After Jerry Hairston Jr. grounded into fielder’s choice, Delino DeShields doubled to make it 1-0. Then, Jeff Conine walked and Cal Ripken Jr. doubled to left to drive in DeShields. Fordyce made it 3-0 with an RBI single to center.
The Orioles added three more runs in the third to take a 6-0 lead.
With one out, Ripken walked and went to third on Fordyce’s double. Chris Richard hit into a fielder’s choice to score Ripken, and Fordyce was safe on a throwing error by second baseman Jason Maxwell. Fordyce scored on a sacrifice fly by Mark Lewis, and Richard came across on Eugene Kingsale’s single.
``I kept battling out there, but there wasn’t anything I could do,″ Romero said. ``They were getting hits, I got behind in the count, my stuff was good, but it didn’t show in the results.″
Romero was replaced by Johan Santana with two outs in the third. Romero allowed eight hits to the 19 batters he faced. Santana pitched three-plus scoreless innings of relief before leaving in the seventh.
Minnesota scored three runs in the third to make it 6-3.
A.J. Pierzynski led off with a ground-rule double and went to third on an infield single by Maxwell. A fielder’s choice by Cristian Guzman hit into a fielder’s choice to score Pierzynski. Guzman stole second and advanced to third when the throw by Orioles catcher Fordyce went into center field. Matt Lawton followed with a double to left to drive in Guzman to make it 6-2. Lawton later advanced to second on Ron Coomer’s single and scored on a fielder’s choice by Ortiz.
The Twins added another run in the fourth when Torii Hunter led off with a double, then scored on a single by Guzman.
Minnesota loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, but Mike Trombley struck out Hunter to end the inning.
``It was a very exciting game, and it was a good comeback,″ said Twins manager Tom Kelly. ``We needed that one more hit.″
Notes: When Orioles OF Karim Garcia, a recent callup from Triple-A Rochester, makes his debut for the Orioles, he will become the 49th player in a Baltimore uniform this season. That total is second only to the 54 players used by the Orioles in 1955. ... The Orioles have at least one extra-base hit in 132 of their 139 games this season. ... The Twins have not won a series with Baltimore in the past four years, compiling a 12-37 record.