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Blackburn Struggles In Twins 5-4 Loss To Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles got to Nick Blackburn early on Wednesday night, and the Minnesota Twins just didn't have enough juice for a late comeback. Minnesota dropped their second consecutive game at Camden Yards as they were bested by the Orioles by a score of 5-4.

The four runs scored on the evening means that the Twins have still not yet scored more than five runs in a game this season, and their run differential of -34 is currently the worst in the majors. . .that's probably a big part of the reason why their current winning percentage is better than only the Seattle Mariners and the New York Mets.

The Twins actually struck first in this one, as Michael Cuddyer launched his first home run of the season in the top of the second, a solo shot that gave the Twins a 1-0 lead. But, it all unraveled in the bottom of the second, as Vlad Guerrero and Luke Scott started the inning with consecutive singles. After a wild pitch by Blackburn allowed them both to move up 90 feet, Adam Jones brought them both home with a double to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead. After Mark Reynolds flew out to left, Matt Weiters blasted a two-run homer to make it 4-1 in favor of Baltimore.

Guerrero struck again in the third, smashing a solo home run off of Blackburn with two out in the frame to extend Baltimore's lead to 5-1.

The Twins attempted to chisel away at the Orioles' lead, as Danny Valencia's two-run single in the top of the sixth cut the deficit to 5-3. Valencia added another RBI in the top of the 8th as he brought Jason Kubel home on another single to make the score 5-4. Unfortunately, the Twins would get no closer, as Kelly Gregg came in for the ninth inning and retired the Twins in order to end the game.

Blackburn took the loss, dropping his record to 1-3 and raising his ERA to 4.01. He allowed seven hits and all five Baltimore runs in seven innings of work. Zach Britton got the victory for the Orioles, raising his record to 3-1. Gregg got his second save of the season.

The loss means that the Twins will not get their first series victory of the season, but they'll attempt to salvage a split in the series finale on Thursday night. The pitching match-up will Scott Baker (0-2, 4.50 ERA) take the mound for the Twins, while the Orioles will send Jeremy Guthrie (1-2, 3.32) to the hill. First pitch from Camden Yards is scheduled for 6:05 PM Central time tomorrow.

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