MINNEAPOLIS — Pitching on 10 days rest after skipping his last start because of shoulder stiffness, Baltimore Orioles right-hander Jeremy Guthrie escaped some early jams and settled down to give the team its their third straight win, a 6-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
The Orioles clinched their first road series victory since mid-May and, if they win Thursday at Target Center, will have picked up their first four-game sweep of the 2011 season.
Shaking off rust, Guthrie struggled initially and then dominated the Twins. He allowed just one run, a Justin Morneau RBI double, in the third. He lasted seven innings, giving up five hits and two walks while striking out five.
Michael Gonzalez and Jim Johnson each threw one scoreless inning to hand Guthrie the win, his first since July 29. Gonzalez struck out the side in the 8th, and now has fanned seven consecutive batters. He has not allowed a run in 12 straight appearances.
The Orioles first threat came in the second against Minnesota starter Kevin Slowey. With one out, Kevin Slowey plunked Mark Reynolds in the side with a pitch and then Robert Andino singled. But Jake Fox, who was inserted in the lineup because Vladimir Guerrero was scratched with a left wrist contusion, hit into a double play.
Reynolds apparently wasn’t affected by the plunking. In his next at-bat against Slowey to lead off the five-run fifth, he crushed a full-count pitch 386 feet to left for his team-leading 28th homer. The solo shot tied the game at 1-1.
The Orioles continued to hammer Slowey in the inning. With one out, Fox singled, Nolan Reimold brought him home with a RBI triple and Ryan Adams made it 3-1 with a RBI double. A J.J. Hardy single and a walk to Markakis loaded the bases and the ninth batter of the inning, Matt Wieters, hit a two-run double that chased Slowey (0-2).