MINNEAPOLIS -- Sending Francisco Liriano to the mound seemed to be the ideal way to open Minnesota's first doubleheader at Target Field.
Baltimore's bats had the better timing.
Nick Markakis drove in three of the five two-out runs off Liriano, and the Orioles beat the Twins 7-3 in the first game of a split doubleheader Saturday.
Justin Morneau hit his first Target Field homer after going deep six times on the road, a two-run shot that gave the Twins a first-inning lead against Jeremy Guthrie (1-4). But the Orioles handed Liriano (4-1) his first loss with a flurry of well-placed singles.
"You make a good pitch, and they still get a base hit," said Liriano, whose fastball velocity was down. "There's nothing I can do about it."
The American League Pitcher of the Month for April lasted through the sixth, but after 17 scoreless innings to start his experience at Minnesota's new ballpark, Liriano couldn't get the final out in either the third inning or the fourth before damage was done.
"We finally got some hits to fall in," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "The breaks went with us. We've hit some balls on the button and have had nothing to show for it. Today they didn't exactly look pretty, but they gave us good results."
Markakis hit a two-run single with the bases loaded in the third on a roller up the middle that Liriano and shortstop Brendan Harris just missed. Three more runs scored on balls that found grass before gloves in the fourth, and the Orioles took a 5-2 lead.
"Sometimes those hits go your way. Sometimes they don't. It's a cliche, but it's a cliche for a reason," said Minnesota's Michael Cuddyer, who took Guthrie deep in the fourth and has five of his team's nine home runs in 14 home games.
The Friday night rainout gave Liriano an extra day of rest following a 123-pitch performance earlier in the week. But after giving up only 26 hits and six runs in 36 innings over his first five starts, summoning his All-Star form of 2006, Liriano allowed 10 hits and five runs on a chilly afternoon.
Many of those 10 hits were loops and bloops to the outfield, and a few of them barely eluded the infield dirt. Nolan Reimold's one-out single that started the rally in the third bounced high off third base and past Nick Punto's reach.
The postponed game was pushed to Saturday night, when Scott Baker was scheduled to pitch for the Twins against Kevin Millwood of the Orioles. Fans with tickets for Friday had to be a bit disappointed about missing Liriano, but this sure wasn't a must-see start.
After starting 2-16, the Orioles have won seven of their last 12.
Struggling center fielder Adam Jones was moved down one from the leadoff spot for the Orioles, and he drove in a run with an eighth-inning single. Julio Lugo played second base and batted first, collecting three hits and an RBI -- giving him six hits in a nine at-bat stretch.
"It's a great pickup. It makes you want to pick them up as well," Guthrie said.
The run support for Guthrie was rare.
The AL's leader with 17 losses and 35 home runs allowed last season was given a total of 14 runs in his first six starts. Only nine of those came while he was in the game.
But the right-hander bore down against a Twins lineup still missing star catcher Joe Mauer, pitching into the seventh and striking out five. Guthrie gave up five hits, three runs and a walk, two days after Brad Bergesen and the bullpen blanked the Twins 2-0.
"He had as good location as he's had," manager Dave Trembley said. "He had real good movement on his pitches."
The rain came again briefly in the eighth inning, but despite the 43-degree first-pitch temperature, the sun made an appearance over downtown Minneapolis and the sweatshirt-wearing sellout crowd was able to stay mostly dry.
The Twins, though, gave them "kind of a blah game," as Gardenhire put it.
"It's hard to get energy going when you're not on the basepaths running around," he said.
The last doubleheader the Twins played at home was in 2007, the result of a rescheduling following the fatal freeway bridge collapse near downtown. Baker pitched the night game that time, too, and took a perfect game into the ninth inning. ... The Orioles hadn't played a doubleheader since the end of the 2008 season, a September twinbill against Tampa Bay.