MINNEAPOLIS, MAY 29 -- When it seemed the Baltimore Orioles would need to take drastic measures in order to win at the Metrodome, that's exactly what they did.
Using all manner of career firsts and season bests, the Orioles defeated the Minnesota Twins, 5-1, tonight for their third victory in their last 18 games here.
Pitching on two days' rest for the first time in his career, Bob Milacki was masterful in 6 1/3 innings against the American League's best hitting team; first baseman Randy Milligan hit two home runs in a game for the first time; and the Orioles had a season-high five doubles and seven extra-base hits to defeat Allan Anderson for the first time.
"What's drastic about that?" deadpanned Orioles Manager Frank Robinson, whose club has won four of its first five games on a 13-game road trip that is its longest this season.
Baltimore also ended a five-game winning streak for the Twins, who had won seven of their previous nine.
Jay Tibbs had been scheduled to start this game for the Orioles, but he has been with his seriously ill father in Birmingham since the road trip began. And when Tibbs's father took a turn for the worse over the weekend, Robinson turned to Milacki, who pitched four innnings Sunday -- the fourth time in five starts he had failed to complete five innings.
"I'll take whatever I can get from him," Robinson said before the game. "If he can give me six innings, I think we'll be all right."
He did, and the Orioles were.
Milligan, who also had a double and three runs batted in, has reached base in 12 of his last 13 plate appearances (five hits, seven walks). Although he is batting .231 for the season (up 35 points in his last four games), his on-base percentage is .427.
Milacki (2-3) allowed one run on seven hits and did not walk a batter for the first time this season. Rested relievers Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson finished up to give Milacki his first victory since April 20.
"The first thing I said to Frank when I came out of the game was, 'Am I pitching Friday?' " Milacki said. "It's my regular turn, and I thought he might say yes."
It might not be a bad idea.
Milacki pitched on three days' rest 10 times last season and was 6-1 with a 2.50 earned run average in 72 innings.
"I like to pitch as frequently as possible," Milacki said. "I like working with three days' rest, most preferably in a four-man rotation."
With an off day coming up Thursday, Robinson said that for now he planned to stay with a rotation in which the starters will pitch on four days' rest.
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead with one out in the second when Milligan hit a 3-2 pitch over the center field fence. Minnesota tied it in the third, but Baltimore scored two runs in the fifth on two doubles, a single, a walk and a wild pitch.
The Orioles made it 4-1 in the sixth on two more doubles to knock out Anderson (2-6), who had been 6-0 with a 2.79 ERA in 48 1/3 innings against Baltimore. Milligan led off the ninth against Terry Leach with a rocket into the left field seats for his fifth homer of the season and third in two games here.
Milligan attributed his recent turnaround to some videotape study with hitting coach Tom McCraw. They noticed Milligan was not crouching or rocking his body into the ball the way he did last season, when he batted .268.
"After the last game in Baltimore we went into the video room and got a tape of me when I was hitting the ball last year," Milligan said. "Then we got the tape of my at-bats that night. We looked at them for about a half-hour, and the difference was night and day.
"The next day in Texas I was hitting the ball well in batting practice. It's funny, but little things like that make all the difference."
Texas also was where Milacki began to get his act together, going four innings and allowing five runs on eight hits and three walks. (In his previous start, against the Twins in Baltimore, Milacki lasted one-third of an inning -- his shortest outing as a starter in the majors -- giving up four runs on four hits and a walk.)
Most of the damage against Texas came in one inning, however, and Robinson said before tonight's game, "He has to feel pretty good about his last outing and he can take that out to the mound with him tonight."
At first, Milacki was not spectacular. The Twins got singles off him in the first and second, and scored in the third when Al Newman singled with two out and scored on a double by Kirby Puckett. Puckett now has hits in six consecutive games and 19 of 21 since May 8.
But Milacki did not fall behind in the count and he kept the ball down. He retired nine of Minnesota's next 10 batters, as his change-up got better and made his other pitches tougher.
"After the first couple of innings, I felt that was the best I've thrown all year," Milacki said. "I had been trying to be too fine and I was giving the hitters too much credit. Tonight I said, 'I'm going to hit the fat part of the plate and make them knock me out of the game.' "
The Twins did get him out of the game, but not until John Moses singled with one out in the seventh. And when that happened, Williamson and Olson were waiting. Williamson now has allowed three hits, a walk and zero runs in his last 10 innings. Olson has allowed one run in his last 54 innings.
"The people we need in the late innings were rested," Robinson said, "and he got us to those people."