Orioles 9, Twins 4

With outings like this, Brian Matusz could regain a job in the

Baltimore Orioles’ starting rotation.

Matusz pitched four hitless innings, struck out six of his first

seven batters and retired his first 11 before a walk in Wednesday

night’s 9-4 win over the Minnesota Twins.

”My mindset was to attack the zone with authority and come out

there and just play the game and pitch,” Matsuz said. ”Just build

enough confidence. Just keep building, building and stay strong all

the way through.”

Matusz had a 10.69 ERA in 2011, the highest in a season for a

pitcher with at least 10 starts. He was 5-10 with a 5.42 ERA in 16

starts last year, then was sent to the minors on July 1 after

losing his fifth straight outing.

Baltimore brought him back on Aug. 24, and he was 1-0 with a

1.35 ERA in 18 relief outings, holding opponents to a .114 batting


Chris Dickerson hit a solo home run in the third off Kevin

Correia, who allowed two runs – one earned – and four hits in 4 2-3


Baltimore right fielder Nick Markakis returned to the team after

an MRI in Baltimore showed he has a small herniated disk in his

neck and will be out about another week.

”I’m confident that I’m going to be OK,” said Markakis, who

hopes to be able to play in three-to-four consecutive exhibition

games. ”Whether I’m there opening day or not, it depends on how my

body reacts and how I feel.”

Minnesota’s Justin Morneau went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts in

his first game back after playing for Canada in the World Baseball


”He’s one of the best hitters in the league for a reason,”

Matusz said. ”He just keeps fighting. I felt like I was making

good pitches. He was just putting good swings on it. That last

pitch, I just said, I’m going to bury a slider here.’ He’s such a

good hitter, he still put good wood on it. With those tough

hitters, you’ve just got to bear down and throw strikes.”

Morneau said he benefited from playing in the WBC.

”It was something I’ll never forget,” he said.

Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe remains out for at least

several more days with a calf strain. Eduardo Escobar, who has just

59 games of big league experience, started at third and went 0 for


”We’ve got all kinds of guys who can play third,” Twins

general manager Terry Ryan said. ”It’s just a matter of how much

offense we’ll get.”

NOTES: Twins minor league RHP Deolis Guerra remains in Tampa in

intensive care for a blood clot in his pitching shoulder. He is

expected to have surgery within a few days. ”This was

precautionary,” Ryan said. ”This is something that a lot of

people have had. We’ve had four guys ourselves. A blood clot is

certainly a serious situation. But I believe he’ll be back in

time.” Ryan said he had no doubt Guerra would pitch again this

season. … Twins LHP Scott Diamond, who had offseason surgery to

remove bone chips from his elbow, remains slated to pitch in a game