Twins 3, Orioles 1

Jeremy Guthrie pitched well enough against the Minnesota Twins

to brag about his performance.

Instead, the Baltimore Orioles right-hander ended up talking

about his shortcomings, and an even better outing by the opposing

pitcher, following a 3-1 loss Thursday night.

Guthrie (1-3) gave up two runs and seven hits in seven innings.

He struck out four, walked none and lowered his ERA to 3.12.

But Twins starter Scott Baker (1-2) allowed four hits over seven

shutout innings, and Jim Thome and Michael Cuddyer hit home runs to

help Minnesota salvage a split of the four-game series.

”I was outpitched tonight,” Guthrie said. ”I didn’t make the

big pitches when I needed to.”

Especially against Thome, who hit his 591st career homer in the

second inning and put Minnesota up 2-0 with an RBI single in the

sixth.

The home run came on a changeup that Guthrie wished he could

take back.

”It was not a good pitch,” he said. ”It was the wrong part of

the plate and probably a little harder than it needed to be. It

just didn’t have the softness of the changeup earlier in the at-bat

that he swung through.”

Not that anyone on the Orioles was complaining about the way

Guthrie pitched.

”He gave us a real chance to win. Deserves a better fate,”

manager Buck Showalter said. ”He just ran up against a guy who was

as good as he was tonight, and maybe a little better.”

Baker struck out nine and walked one. The right-hander is 6-0

with a 2.17 ERA in eight career starts against Baltimore.

”It seems like we can’t beat the guy,” Orioles second baseman

Brian Roberts said. ”He’s a good pitcher, so you tip your hat and

unfortunately you move on.”

Thome, who began the night with a .163 batting average and five

RBIs, needs only nine more homers to join the 600 club.

”As a fan of the game, as a fan of history, it is exciting,”

he said. ”As you get closer, you get asked about it more because

it is a historical thing. You just try not to think about it too

much. It’s important to stay with your approach.”

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had no doubt that Thome would

eventually return to form.

”He’s never that far off. That’s why he has almost 600 home

runs,” Gardenhire said. ”Thome can swing. That’s one thing he can

do is swing the bat.”

After the Orioles scored a run against the Twins bullpen in the

eighth, Matt Capps, the fourth Minnesota reliever, got three outs

for his third save.

Baltimore put a runner at second base in three of the first five

innings, but couldn’t capitalize. Nick Markakis twice made the

final out with runners at first and second.

Minnesota went up 2-0 in the sixth. Alexi Casilla hit a leadoff

single, advanced when Cuddyer was hit by a pitch and scored on

Thome’s single to center.

Cuddyer homered in the eighth off Mike Gonzalez. It was his

second in two nights and upped his RBI total for the season to

two.

Gonzalez has a 10.80 ERA in six innings this season.

”He’s got to get better and he knows that,” Showalter

said.

In the bottom half, Vladimir Guerrero singled in a run with two

outs before Glen Perkins retired Luke Scott with runners at the

corners.

NOTES: The Twins played a fifth straight game without first

baseman Justin Morneau (flu) and were also without infielder Delmon

Young, who has been out since Monday with the flu and a sore rib.

Young intends to get an MRI on Friday to determine the extent of

his rib injury. … Baltimore’s Derrek Lee needed an eighth-inning

double to lift his batting average over .200. He has one homer and

two RBIs. … The Twins has scored only one first-inning run this

season. … Thome has four career homers against Guthrie. He has

1,631 career RBIs, five fewer than Ernie Banks, who ranks 28th.