MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Jacque Jones beat out an infield single to drive in the winning run with a ninth-inning single and lift the Minnesota Twins to a 4-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night.

B.J. Ryan blew his fifth save in 26 chances, three of those against the Twins.

With Baltimore ahead 3-2, Joe Mauer walked with one out, stole second as Shannon Stewart struck out and took third when replacement catcher Eli Whiteside’s throw sailed into the outfield for an error. Mauer then scored on a wild pitch by Ryan (1-3).

Matthew LeCroy walked, Torii Hunter advanced pinch-runner Michael Ryan to third and Jones drove him in with his bouncer up the middle. Shortstop Miguel Tejada fielded the ball but was forced to make an off-balance throw that skidded underneath first baseman Rafael Palmeiro’s glove.

Brian Roberts had hit a sacrifice fly to deep right field in the top of the inning to put the Orioles ahead 3-2. Palmeiro had two more hits, raising his career total to 3,009 and moving into sole possession of 24th place, past Al Kaline, on the career list. Tejada had two hits and an RBI and Luis Matos had a sacrifice fly for Baltimore.

Jesse Crain (9-1) moved into the Minnesota lead for victories after giving up the tying run. The Twins won for just the second time in six games after the All-Star break. They’ve scored just 16 runs in those.

Mauer had two doubles and an RBI for the Twins. Nick Punto also had two hits including the tying single in the sixth but he inexplicably bunted toward first base with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth and was easily tagged out.

While Baltimore is thought to be in talks to acquire Florida’s A.J. Burnett in a trade to bolster the rotation, Orioles starters have pitched pretty well out of the break. That includes hard-throwing young righty Daniel Cabrera, who gave up just two hits and two earned runs over eight innings in a 5-3 victory at Seattle last Thursday.

In May, Cabrera stifled the Twins for eight scoreless innings while scattering three hits and striking out a career high 11 during a 3-0 win in Baltimore. This time, he wasn’t quite as effective – but Minnesota’s struggling lineup continued to sputter at the plate.

Jones led off the sixth with a double, though, and Cabrera yielded to Steve Kline with one out. Punto tied the game at 2 with a two-out single, costing Cabrera a chance at his fourth straight victory.

He gave up five hits, two runs and four walks in 5 1-3 innings while striking out seven and throwing 106 pitches.

Twins starter Kyle Lohse didn’t factor in the decision, either, surrendering 10 hits, two runs and one walk in six innings with one strikeout.

Minnesota made it tougher on itself by running into outs. Rookie Luis Rodriguez, batting leadoff for the first time, drew walks his first two times up. He got caught in a rundown between second and third when Stewart hit a one-out fielder’s choice grounder to shortstop in the first.

Then in the third inning, Rodriguez was at third after a one-out double by Mauer – another one of Minnesota’s scarce reliable hitters these days. He broke for home on a fielder’s choice grounder hit by Stewart to third, and Melvin Mora threw him out with a high throw when Rodriguez’s slide underneath catcher Sal Fasano stopped just short of the plate.

Hunter, batting just .200 (10-for-50) this year with runners in scoring position and two outs, struck out on a pitch that bounced in the dirt to end the third and hit a fielder’s choice bouncer to shortstop with men at first and third and two outs in the fifth.

Notes: Hunter stole two bases in the second inning, giving him 21 for the season. His career high is 23. … Cabrera has struck out seven or more in seven of his last 16 starts.

AP-ES-07-19-05 2341EDT


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