Twins Drop Second Straight in Baltimore, Lose 5-4

The Twins lost another game tonight to the Orioles at Camden Yards, and while there were a few more positives than last night's debacle, there were still a lot of issues that clearly need to be worked out. Michael Cuddyer hit his first home run, giving him his first RBI on the year, and Danny Valencia knocked in the other three runs. That would be all the Twins scored tonight, maintaining their place at the bottom of the AL in runs scored. Gotta be the best at something, I suppose.

Notes and studs & duds after the jump.

The first inning went pretty uneventfully for both teams, with both pitchers have a quick 1-2-3 inning. With Cuddy's second-inning bomb, however, the Twins were in the lead, but it wouldn't last for long. The Orioles scored 4 in the bottom of the frame, and they'd hold the lead for the rest of the game. The Orioles then scored another run in the bottom of the fourth, on a Vlad Guerrero homerun. Danny Valencia would make the game interesting twice, once in the top of the sixth with two outs, and the other in the top of the 8th again with two outs. He knocked in two in the sixth, scoring Jason Repko and Michael Cuddyer, and another in the eighth when he hit in Jason Kubel.

Nick Blackburn pitched well in the first inning, giving Twins fans a little hope that he might be able to keep the game under control, but it didn't take long for the wheels to come off. The second inning was pretty rough for Blackie-4 hits and 4 earned runs. The third inning would have been fine if not for one Vlad Guerrero. After that, Blackburn seemed to settle in and gets out relatively efficiently, pitching a total of 88 pitches through 7 innings. He probably could have come out for the 8th, but Glen Perkins came on in relief, pitching a tidy 1-2-3 eighth.

On the other side, Zach Britton seemed to have the Twins' number. Aside from the Cuddyer home run in the second inning, he pitched pretty clean innings until the sixth, when he ran into a little trouble (named Danny Valencia). Britton would be done after the sixth, and Jim Johnson came on in relief, pitching a very clean (and quick) seventh. Koji Uehara came on to face the Twins in the 8th, and after a walk and a couple singles, gave up one earned run, but would end the inning with Luke Hughes flying out to right field.

Kevin Gregg in the 9th inning was the Twins last chance, and since he had previously helped out our offense pretty nicely, I think many Twins fans were still clinging to that last bit of hope for a nice comeback win. Unfortunately, Kevin Gregg remembered how to pitch decently, and put the Twins down in order. Bummer.

Notes:
-We need Morneau and Young back, at the very least, very soon. This is getting kind of ridiculous.
-We also need Mauer back, but STEVE HOLM! and Drew Butera can fill in until he's fully healed, I guess.
-Our run production is pretty um...well, bad. I got kind of excited that we scored 4 runs, even though we lost. That's not a great feeling.

Studs:
-Michael Cuddyer: Sure he grounded into a double play, but he also hit his first home run of the season and got his first RBI out of the way. Sorry, but I love the guy and am hoping this is a turning point for him.
-Danny Valencia: Scored the other 3 runs. Since they have been hard to come by lately, I'm giving the guy props for keeping the game close. Totally clutch.
-Jason Kubel: 2-for-4, run scored. Kubes has been hitting the ball really well lately (.323 BA), and since the others haven't really caught on well, we'll praise him for it. Good job, Kubes!

Duds:
-Nick Blackburn: I was really hesitant to place him as a 'dud', but giving up 5 runs in two innings really sucks. He pitched well after that, though, so I don't know. Feel free to criticize this choice.
-Everyone else, basically. People who did not get a hit last night were-Jason Repko, Jim Thome, STEVE HOLM!, and Matt Tolbert. Luke Hughes' only hit was a bunt single, so I guess we can give him some GardyPoints for that. Yikes.

Actual Gardy Quote of the Night:
"We haven't been swinging the bats well," Gardenhire said, "but I liked the way the guys got after it." (Source)

Here's to the start of a nice little winning streak, beginning with tonight's game!

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