Brian Duensing Does Well, Twins Still Lose In Baltimore

Brian Duensing gave the Twins five solid innings in his first start of the season, but the Twins fell to Baltimore Friday night, 3-2.

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Anthony Slama Allows Two Runs, Orioles Win 3-2

(Sports Network) – Jeremy Guthrie picked up his first victory in nearly two months thanks to a two-run homer by Luke Scott in the sixth inning, as Baltimore edged Minnesota, 3-2, in the second test of a four-game set.

Guthrie (4-10), winless in nine starts since beating Oakland on May 25, yielded two runs on six hits in seven effective innings to pick up the win, the Orioles’ second in eight games since the All-Star break.

Anthony Slama (0-1) gave up the go-ahead home run to take the loss behind Brian Duensing, who went five innings in his first start of the year and allowed just one run on four hits while walking none.

Joe Mauer went 2-for-4 with a two-run home run for the Twins, who had won two straight and five of seven coming in.

Minnesota shut out its previous two opponents but gave up a run in the first inning Friday, as Adam Jones’ two-out, RBI single gave the Orioles an early lead that held up until the sixth.

Guthrie faced the minimum from the third through the fifth frame, then retired the first two hitters in the sixth before Alexi Casilla singled to left. Mauer then sent one into the seats in right-center for his fifth home run this season. The reigning AL MVP belted a career-high 28 round-trippers last year.

The Twins’ lead was short-lived, with Miguel Tejada leading off the bottom frame with a single off Slama, who was making his second career appearance since being called up from Triple-A Rochester. Two batters later, Scott gave the rookie reliever a rude welcome with a no-doubter to right for a 3-2 edge.

Denard Span led off the away eighth with a single and was moved into scoring position with a bunt. However, Will Ohman got Mauer to bounce out to short, and David Hernandez got Michael Cuddyer to fly out to the deepest part of the park in center.

Alfredo Simon worked around Delmon Young’s one-out single in the ninth to close out the victory and notch his 14th save of the season.

Duensing, who made nine starts last season, had appeared in 39 games out of the bullpen this year and pitched to an impressive 1.67 earned run average. He started in place of an ineffective Nick Blackburn…Twins second baseman Orlando Hudson left in the third inning with a right oblique strain…Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, sidelined since suffering an abdominal strain four games into the season, went 0-for-4 out of the leadoff spot in his return. To make room for Roberts, Baltimore designated infielder Scott Moore for assignment…O’s infielder Ty Wigginton was suspended by Major League Baseball for three games for his on-field argument and subsequent volatile reaction with an umpire in the opener of this series. He appealed and went 1- for-4 in the win…Tejada had two hits and two runs scored for Baltimore.


Brian Duensing Makes His First Start Against Baltimore

(Sports Network) -- Brian Duensing will have a tough act to follow when the Minnesota Twins pitcher makes his first start of the season in tonight's clash with the Baltimore Orioles from Camden Yards.

Minnesota took the opener of this four-game series behind a sensational performance from Carl Pavano on Thursday, with the veteran right-hander going the distance on a five-hitter to lead his team to a 5-0 triumph.

Pavano (12-6) struck out four and walked just one in posting his seventh consecutive winning decision, and needed only 102 pitches to record his fourth complete game in seven starts.

"I set out this offseason with personal goals," said Pavano, whose 12 wins are just one shy of the New York YankeesCC Sabathia for the American League lead. "I wanted to go deeper into games and it feels better than good."

Delmon Young continued a recent tear of his own for Minnesota, collecting two hits in three at-bats and staking Pavano to a quick 3-0 lead with a bases- clearing double in the first inning. The former No. 1 overall pick is now hitting .452 (14-for-31) with 12 RBI in eight games since the All-Star break.

Michael Cuddyer added a solo homer in the victory, the Twins' fifth in their last seven tries. Minnesota moved within two games of idle Chicago for first place in the AL Central standings.

Duensing will attempt to get his club a little closer to the top spot when he toes the rubber tonight. The former University of Nebraska standout has been brilliant pitching out of the bullpen this season, compiling a 3-1 record with a stellar 1.67 earned run average over 39 appearances, which prompted manager Ron Gardenhire to tab the left-hander to replace an ineffective Nick Blackburn in the Minnesota rotation.

The 27-year-old Duensing did make nine regular-season starts as a rookie in 2009 and also took the ball for the Twins in their 7-2 loss to the Yankees in Game 1 of last year's AL Division Series. He pitched very well in a starting role, producing an impressive 5-1 record and a 2.73 ERA in those nine outings.

Duensing stretched out for tonight's assignment by throwing four innings in relief of Blackburn against the White Sox last Sunday, and picked up the win in the Twins' 7-6 come-from-behind verdict after yielding just one run.

Blackburn has registered a poor 6.53 ERA in 18 starts and was demoted to the bullpen after being reached for five runs in five innings in Sunday's test. It was the fifth time in the righty's last six games in which he allowed five runs or more.

Jeremy Guthrie, the scheduled starter for Baltimore this evening, is mired in a frustrating slump as well at the moment. The right-hander comes in having dropped six consecutive decisions since his last victory, a May 25 besting of Oakland, and is a woeful 3-10 with 4.58 ERA overall in a disappointing 2010 campaign.

Guthrie was sharp in his latest effort, though, limiting Toronto to one run while striking out six batters over 6 2/3 innings this past Saturday at Camden Yards. He still wound up with a no-decision to extend his winless streak to nine straight starts.

One of Guthrie's three wins of 2010 did come against the Twins, however, with the former Cleveland Indians No. 1 pick permitting three runs in 6 2/3 innings during a May 8 encounter in Minneapolis. He's 2-0 with a 3.16 ERA through five career matchups with Minnesota, three of which have been starts.

Baltimore owns the majors' worst record at 30-65 and has dropped six of seven to begin the second half following last night's defeat. Kevin Millwood (2-9), making his first start in more than two weeks, took the loss on Thursday after surrendering five runs in a 6 1/3-inning stint.

Minnesota has won three of five meetings with Baltimore so far this season, but had lost in three straight visits to Camden Yards prior to prevailing last night.

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