<
>

Orioles race out to big lead, hang on to beat Twins

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Baltimore Orioles have been good at
bouncing back from difficult defeats, in the eyes of manager Sam
Perlozzo. He watched them do just that, with a late scare for some
extra excitement.

Miguel Tejada hit a two-run homer, Daniel Cabrera threw six
shutout innings and the Orioles beat the Minnesota Twins 9-7 on
Saturday night.

"I've had plenty of dental visits less painful than that,"
Perlozzo said. "My heart and stomach are still jumping."

Melvin Mora drove in a run with one of his three hits, Ramon
Hernandez doubled twice and had two RBI, and Tejada drove in
three. Michael Cuddyer's seventh-inning grand slam for the Twins,
his second in four days, merely cut an 8-0 lead in half.

Joe Mauer, who went 2-for-3 with two walks to raise his average
to .388, was part of a two-run ninth-inning rally that fell short
against closer Chris Ray. Mauer reached base safely four times for
the fifth straight game -- the Elias Sports Bureau was researching
whether that was a major league record.

"He's hit an area where they don't even know there's records
for right now. That just tells you where he's at," manager Ron
Gardenhire said.

The Twins loaded the bases with none out in the ninth against
Ray. Mike Redmond had an RBI groundout and Justin Morneau hit a
sacrifice fly before Tony Batista grounded back to the mound to end
it.

"This club has been as resilient as any I've seen off tough
losses," Perlozzo said. "Those are signs that your ballclub is
getting on the right track."

Cabrera (4-2), making his second appearance since a three-week
stint on the disabled list due to shoulder inflammation, won for
the third time in six starts. He has thrown 11 innings this month
without giving up a run, though he has walked 11 batters.

Getting Minnesota to ground into a pair of double plays and
stranding eight runners, six in scoring position, Cabrera escaped
unscathed while allowing five hits and six walks. He struck out
five.

"If he throws strikes he's unhittable," teammate Kevin Millar
said. "Devastating slider. Devastating sinker. It's almost
hopeless to right-handers."

After falling a season-worst six games under .500 with Friday's
7-5 defeat in 12 innings, Baltimore had a three-run first against
Carlos Silva (2-8).

Brian Roberts hit an RBI single in the fifth and Millar doubled
home a run in the sixth as Silva struggled again in his second
start since a three-week banishment to the bullpen. He gave up 10
hits, five runs and one walk in six innings with two strikeouts --
and actually lowered his ERA three points to 7.73.

Silva went 14-8 with a 4.21 ERA in 2004 and 9-8 with a 3.44 ERA
in 2005, his first two seasons as a starter. This year, he has
allowed 99 hits in 64 innings.

Roberts began the game with a double, immediately moved up on
Brandon Fahey's sacrifice bunt and scored on Mora's single. Then
Tejada sent a 1-1 pitch from Silva sailing high into the seats in
left field for his 15th homer and a quick 3-0 Orioles lead.

Silva was satisfied with the way he threw, save for the mistake
to Tejada.

"I felt really good," Silva said.

Patience is the key to beating the hard-throwing Cabrera, the AL
walks leader who is 4-1 in six career starts against Minnesota. But
the Twins consistently wasted chances to chip away at their early
deficit, even after loading the bases with none out in the first on
two walks and a single.

Ever-eager cleanup hitter Torii Hunter popped out to third on a
1-1 pitch, and Cuddyer ended the inning with a double-play grounder
to second. Runners were on in every inning against Cabrera,
including a second-and-third situation with one out in the second.

Good defense helped. Tejada made a nifty stop of Hunter's
chopper up the middle with two on in the fifth and shoveled the
ball in one motion to Roberts at second base. Replays showed the
relay throw was late, but umpire Ed Rapuano called Hunter out for a
double play.

"He was a little wild, but he'd just bear down when he got guys
on base," said Jason Kubel, who had three hits.

Minnesota hit three singles, one by Mauer, against John Halama
before Cuddyer's two-out shot in the seventh. Morneau, who is
5-for-8 with seven RBI and three extra-base hits in the series,
drove in another run in that inning against LaTroy Hawkins to cut
the lead to 8-5.

But a three-run Baltimore seventh against reliever Kyle Lohse
proved costly for the Twins, who recalled the right-hander from
Triple-A on Friday. He hit Fahey with a pitch and yielded singles
to Mora and Tejada before a two-run double by Hernandez gave the
Orioles an 8-0 advantage.

Millar hit another RBI double off Lohse to make it 9-5.

Game notes
Mauer has reached base in every home game except one, a 1-0
loss to the Royals on May 4. ... The Orioles have executed six of
their 14 sacrifice bunts this season over the last two games. ...
Lohse has hit six batters in nine games. His ERA spiked to 9.22.
"We learn. We'll get better," he said.