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Updated: June 16th, 2010 9:58pm
Scott Baker strikes out career-high 12 in 2-1 win over Rockies

Scott Baker strikes out career-high 12 in 2-1 win over Rockies

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Coming off two starts in which he allowed a total of nine earned runs, Scott Baker was masterful on Wednesday night, striking out a career-high 12 batters in seven scoreless innings as the Twins beat the Rockies 2-1.

Baker mowed down Carlos Gonzalez and Todd Helton to start the game, then followed by striking out seven out of the 11 batters he faced from innings three through five. Baker allowed only two hits and one walk in those seven innings, throwing 108 pitches.

His previous career high in strikeouts was 10, set on June 4, 2009 against the Cleveland Indians.

Danny Valencia and Nick Punto provided RBI singles in the second inning, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead, but that's all they would muster off Rockies' RHP Jhoulys Chacin, who struggled mightily with control all night.

It's also all the runs Minnesota would need.

The Rockies scored on a passed ball in the top of the eighth inning, and threatened to tie the game with a runner on third and one out, but Jose Mijares got Gonzalez to pop out to third and Helton to strike out swinging to end the inning.

Jon Rauch pitched a clean ninth for his 17th save of the season.

The announced crowd of 40,814 was largest crowd in Target Field history.

Thursday's pitching match-up is one of the most anticipated of the season, with LHP Francisco Liriano (6-3, 2.90) facing RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (12-1, 1.16). First pitch at 12:10 on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd