Jim Thome moved a swing closer to joining the 600 home run club, and helped the Twins bounce back after a tough loss on Wednesday night as the Twins salvaged a split with the Baltimore Orioles in their four-game set at Camden Yards.
Thome launched a solo home run to right-center field in the top of the second, and drove in another run with a single to back up Scott Baker's great performance as the Twins knocked off the Orioles 3-1 on Thursday night in Baltimore.
After Thome's initial blast, no runs were scored by anybody until the top of the sixth, when Alexi Casilla led off the inning with a single. After Jason Kubel struck out, Orioles' starter Jeremy Guthrie (1-3, 3.12 ERA) hit Michael Cuddyer with a pitch. Thome then laced a single to center to bring Casilla around from second and give the Twins a 2-0 lead.
Minnesota extended their lead to 3-0 in the eighth, as Cuddyer got his second home run of the season, a solo shot off of Orioles' reliever Mike Gonzalez.
Jose Mijares came in to relieve Baker in the bottom of the eighth, and got two quick outs with a walk to Brian Roberts sandwiched in-between. Jim Hoey then came in to relieve Mijares, and things got a little interesting. Hoey gave up a double to Derrek Lee, allowing Roberts to move to third, and Roberts then came in to score on Vladimir Guerrero's infield single. Glen Perkins then came in for Hoey, and got Luke Scott to ground out to second base to end the inning.
Matt Capps came in to pitch the ninth, and allowed a two-out single to Matt Weiters before striking out Richard Andino to end the ball game.
Scott Baker pitched a great game this evening, pitching seven shutout innings and allowing only four hits. He also notched nine strikeouts while only walking one. His record on the season is now 1-2, and he lowered his ERA to 3.24. Capps' save was his third of the season.
Minnesota finally gets a chance to return home, as they'll battle the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians in a three-game set this weekend at Target Field. Friday's pitching match-up will see the Indians going with right-hander Fausto Carmona (1-2, 4.74 ERA), and the Twins will counter with southpaw Brian Duensing (1-0, 3.60). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM Central time.