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Updated: May 9th, 2010 3:37pm
Harris, Casilla provide unlikely offense to back Blackburn in win

Harris, Casilla provide unlikely offense to back Blackburn in win

by Tom Pelissero
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Nick Blackburn cruised through seven scoreless innings and the Minnesota Twins got offense from unlikely places in Sunday's 6-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

Starting in place of shortstop J.J. Hardy (wrist) and second baseman Orlando Hudson (shoulder), backups Brendan Harris and Alexi Casilla combined for five hits and four runs for the Twins (21-11), who rallied to split the four-game series after dropping the first two.

Batting eighth and ninth, respectively, Harris and Casilla started the bottom of the third inning with consecutive singles. Denard Span drove them in with a triple, then scored on Nick Punto's sacrifice fly to give the Twins a 3-0 lead.

An inning later, Harris and Casilla stroked two-out doubles -- Casilla's scored Harris -- and Span and Punto each delivered an RBI single to knock out Orioles starter Brian Matusz and make it 6-0.

That was plenty of support for Blackburn, who didn't record a single strikeout but scattered four hits and three walks for his second consecutive win since returning from the family emergency list last week.

Matt Guerrier worked the eighth and Jon Rauch the ninth to preserve the shutout. Rauch took a one-out line drive off the fingers on his throwing hand but stayed in the game.

Designated hitter Joe Mauer, making his first start since he sustained a bruised left heel April 30 at Kansas City, finished 1-for-3 with a single and a walk.

The Twins are off on Monday, then open a two-game series at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox. Kevin Slowey (4-2, 3.93 ERA) will start the opener against righty Freddy Garcia (1-2, 5.28).

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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