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Thu, Aug 25, 2011 - 1:10 PM ET
 

Orioles-Twins Preview

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The Baltimore Orioles may have a little extra incentive as they try to complete their first four-game sweep in Minnesota.

Following the untimely death of a franchise great, the Orioles meet the Twins on Thursday afternoon.

During Wednesday's 6-1 win, Baltimore announced that former pitcher Mike Flanagan was found dead outside his Maryland home at the age of 59. Flanagan, a color commentator for the Orioles' television network, went 23-9 in 1979 en route to winning the AL Cy Young Award and was a member of Baltimore's 1983 World Series winning team.

Flanagan was 167-143 with a 3.90 ERA in 18 seasons with Baltimore and Toronto.

"The Orioles lost a real source of wisdom, and it's just hard to imagine not getting to see him now and then," manager Buck Showalter said, fighting back tears.

Baltimore (50-77) has taken three straight in Minnesota for the first time since September 1999. The Twins have never been swept in a four-game set by the Orioles since relocating from Washington starting in 1961.

Jo-Jo Reyes (6-10, 5.44 ERA) will try to finish the sweep for Baltimore.

In his only career appearance against Minnesota on May 14 while with Toronto, Reyes gave up three runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings of the Blue Jays' 9-3 win in 11.

Since joining the Orioles off waivers Aug. 2, the left-hander has been reached for 10 runs in 15 innings. Reyes put Baltimore in a 4-0 hole after just 12 pitches Friday en route to an 8-3 defeat to Los Angeles.

"He's obviously got to be better than that early on," Showalter said.

Minnesota has totaled three runs during a four-game skid while continuing to sink in the AL Central. On July 28, the defending two-time division champions were six games behind first-place Detroit, but they've since gone 6-19 - and 0-17 when scoring four runs or less - to fall 15 games back.

The Twins (55-74) may be without right fielder Michael Cuddyer, who left in the first inning Wednesday after being hit in the left wrist by a pitch. Cuddyer leads Minnesota with 18 homers and 61 RBIs.

Jim Thome, reportedly claimed on waivers by an unnamed team Wednesday, has struggled for the Twins since hitting his 600th home run. In his last six games, Thome is 3 for 17 with a homer, two RBIs and nine strikeouts.

Looking to win three straight starts for the first time in more than a year, Francisco Liriano (9-9, 4.85) will take the ball for Minnesota.

After struggling through six innings in a 9-6 win at Detroit on Aug. 15, the left-hander had one of his better outings Saturday against New York. He surrendered one unearned run and three hits over seven innings of a 9-4 victory.

"It's been a tough year. Been up and down. I have to be more consistent," said Liriano, who hasn't won three starts in a row since a four-game stretch July 16-Aug. 1, 2010.

Liriano won at Baltimore on April 18 and is 2-1 with a 3.26 ERA in his career against the Orioles.

Adam Jones, who is 0 for 9 in his last three games, is 2 for 7 with a solo homer against Liriano while Vladimir Guerrero - a late scratch Wednesday with a left wrist contusion - is 1 for 9.

Tagged: Orioles, Twins, Francisco Liriano, Jo-Jo Reyes

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