Slowey struggles in fifth; Twins lose 6-1

MINNEAPOLIS — Kevin Slowey cruised through four innings Wednesday night. He just couldn't get out of the fifth.

Mark Reynolds homered to start a five-run inning and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Minnesota Twins 6-1.

Slowey was making his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Aug. 11. Last Friday he battled through five innings against the Yankees before being knocked out in the sixth. On Wednesday, he dominated Baltimore through the first four frames, allowing just one hit and two base runners.

But Reynolds led off the fifth with a home run to deep left to tie the game, and before the inning was through the Orioles had added two singles, two doubles and a triple. Slowey's pitch count ballooned from 50 to 89 in the inning, and when Matt Wieters slapped his last pitch down the left-field line for a two-out, two-run double, his night was through.

"The first four innings I felt like I executed pitches down. In the fifth I just really didn't make any pitches that I can recall," Slowey said.


"It's really frustrating to feel like mechanically I'd thrown well up to that point and then to just have an inning and really bury the team. We've been really scrapping lately and for me to go out there and give up five, it's just really disappointing."

Jeremy Guthrie pitched seven strong innings for the Orioles, who have won three straight games for the first time since winning four in a row from June 6-10. Baltimore has outscored Minnesota 18-3 in the three games.

Jason Kubel and Justin Morneau hit back-to-back doubles in the third inning for the Twins' only run. Minnesota has lost six of seven and 18 of its last 23 overall and is 2 1/2 games ahead of last-place Kansas City in the AL Central.

Guthrie (6-16) has been dealing with some right shoulder soreness, and had given up 16 earned runs in his last three starts. The right-hander found his rhythm against a punchless Minnesota offense, allowing five hits and striking out five, the same number he struck out in his last three starts combined.

He wiggled out of a first-inning jam thanks to a diving two-out, bases-loaded stop by Ryan Adams and gave up consecutive doubles in the third before retiring 12 straight.

"Who knows how the game goes if that ball goes through, gives us some life?" Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But they made a hell of a play on that one and that was pretty much our big chance."

Without getting much help from their scuffling offense, Minnesota starters are 2-11 in their last 19 startswith both wins by Francisco Liriano. Slowey looked like he had a chance to improve those numbers until he hit the wall in the fifth.

"He just got some balls up in that inning and couldn't stop it," Gardenhire said. "Last year we saw Kevin go deep into games, but this game he just couldn't make a pitch to get out of the inning."


Michael Gonzalez struck out all three batters he faced in the eighth and has struck out all seven batters he

Former Twin J.J. Hardy was 2 for 5 and scored on a wild pitch in the ninth. He's now 6 for 13 in the series.

Minnesota right fielder Michael Cuddyer left the game in the first inning with a left wrist injury after being hit by a pitch from Guthrie. X-rays were negative and an MRI is expected Thursday. Cuddyer leads the team in home runs and RBIs.

•: Baltimore 3B Robert Andino made a barehanded catch of a foul pop-up by Morneau near the stands in the sixth inning. ... The Orioles last won three straight in Minnesota Sept. 7-9, 1999. ... Baltimore CF Adam Jones was back in the starting lineup after leaving Tuesday night's game with an illness. "I feel 100 percent," he said. ... Orioles DH Vladimir Guerrero was a late scratch with a left wrist contusion. ... Jim Thome, the reigning AL Player of the Week, went 0 for 4 and is 1 for his last 12. ... Liriano (9-9) takes the hill for Thursday's matinee. He threw seven innings of three-hit ball Saturday against the Yankees, allowing no earned runs. ... Jo-Jo Reyes (6-10) is scheduled to start for Baltimore. In three starts for the Orioles since being picked up on waivers, Reyes has allowed 10 earned runs in 15 innings.

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