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Hardy Goes Deep As Orioles Beat Twins 4-1

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Nice hairy stomach, guy in front row. Two pitches later, J.J. Hardy hit his home run, after that guy in the jersey knocked a foul pop-up away from Mauer.
Nice hairy stomach, guy in front row. Two pitches later, J.J. Hardy hit his home run, after that guy in the jersey knocked a foul pop-up away from Mauer.

Former Twins and current Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy hit his 24th home run of the season, leading Baltimore to a 4-1 victory at Target Field. Minnesota had chances but went 0-7 with runners in scoring position.

But let's back up. 24 homers is six more than any Twin. 24 homers is 21 more than Twins shortstops have hit this year. Heck, in 127 games, Twins shortstops have only 25 extra-base hits all year. Michael Cuddyer, at 18 homers, is the only Twin within ten of Hardy. That is... depressing.

Let's not dwell, though. Matt Wieters also went deep off Carl Pavano, who gave up four runs on nine hits in his seven innings and took his tenth loss of the year.

Minnesota spent most of the night putting runners on second and third, and failing to bring them home. In the third, Jim Thome left the bases loaded by lining out to left to end the inning. In the fourth, Danny Valencia led off with a double but was stranded on third. In the fifth, Cuddyer doubled with two out but was left there, again by Thome. In the seventh, Cuddyer doubled with Mauer on first and two out, but nobody scored as Jason Kubel struck out to end the inning. That's four innings in which the Twins needed to get runs and didn't.

Revere's catch the highlight

It's hard to explain Ben Revere's catch to end the seventh inning. Vladimir Guerrero blasted a ball to deep center, straight over Revere's head. Revere headed back, looking alternately over both shoulders, then jumped right at the fence - into the fence, really - with his back still turned to home plate, making the grab with his glove up against the wall I suggest you go watch this catch right now, because you're not likely to see a better one this year.

Valencia, Gardenhire tossed

In the eighth, home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt - actually, I could just stop right there. When you see Wendelstedt doing the plate, you know that he'll find a way to run Gardenhire. Gardy can't stand the guy, considers him a showboat and a blight on baseball, and so when Wendelstedt ran Valencia for disagreeing with his calls in the eighth, all that was left to be decided was where Gardy would throw his hat - at the umpire, or in disgust on his way off the field. (In disgust, thirty feet in the air, on his way off the field.)

Studs and Duds

The good:

1) Michael Cuddyer, who had two doubles and a walk on his return to the lineup.
2) Ben Revere, for his amazing, amazing catch.
3) Joe Mauer - two hits, an RBI, and one heck of a diving stop at first base.

The bad:

1) Luke Hughes: 0-4, three strikeouts, funny accent.
2) Drew Butera: 0-3.
3) Jim Thome: Couldn't get the hit the Twins needed.

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