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Butera's Three RBI Lead Twins Past Orioles, 5-3

The Minnesota Twins are used to a catcher being the driving force behind their offense. They're just not used to that catcher being Drew Butera, that's all.

The Twins' current starting catcher. . .starting because of Joe Mauer's stint on the 15-day disabled list. . .had two hits and drove in three runs on the evening, and the Minnesota Twins defeated the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night, 5-3. This marks the first time this season that the Twins have won consecutive ball games.

Butera got the Twins started in the top of the second inning, when he brought Michael Cuddyer and Danny Valencia home on a double to right field to stake the Twins to an early 2-0 lead. The Twins extended that lead to 3-0 in the top of the fourth when Danny Valencia's RBI groundout plated Delmon Young.

The score stayed that way until the bottom of the seventh inning, when the Orioles got to Twins' starter Francisco Liriano for two home runs in three batters. Adam Jones led off the inning with a solo blast to left field. Then, after a ground out, Matt Weiters took Liriano out to center field to make the score 3-2. When Robert Andino reached on an infield single, Liriano was pulled in favor of Jose Mijares.

Mijares got Brian Roberts to ground into a fielder's choice, and promptly hit Nick Markakis. Mijares was then lifted for new call-up Jim Hoey, who got Derrek Lee to fly out to end the inning.

The Twins needed some insurance, and they got it in the top of the ninth when Butera delivered another RBI single. Orioles' reliever Kelly Gregg then uncorked a wild pitch to allow Danny Valencia to score, and the Twins led 5-2 going into the bottom of the ninth. The bottom of the ninth wasn't completely quiet for Capps. . .he retired the first two hitters, but allowed a solo home run to pinch-hitter Luke Scott. Capps finally got Roberts to fly out to end the ball game, and the Twins emerged victorious.

Liriano got his first victory of the season, despite having some control issues. . .in 6.1 innings, he only allowed five hits and two runs (the two solo home runs in the seventh), but he managed to walk five Orioles while only striking out two. He's now 1-3 on the year, and lowered. . .yes, lowered. . .his ERA to 7.40. The loss went to the Orioles' Chris Tillman, who is now 0-2 with a 6.16 ERA. Capps got the save, his second in as many chances since taking the closer's role over from Joe Nathan.

The same two teams will get together again tomorrow, with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 PM. The Twins will send ace Carl Pavano (1-1, 3.60 ERA) to the hill, and the Orioles will counter with right-hander Jake Arrieta (1-1, 7.04).

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.