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Updated: April 19th, 2011 9:09pm
Twins Daily: Depleted lineup punchless while Orioles rip Carl Pavano

Twins Daily: Depleted lineup punchless while Orioles rip Carl Pavano

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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Carl Pavano surrendered eight runs and the depleted Minnesota Twins lineup couldn't save him on Tuesday night as the Orioles evened the series and snapped an eight-game losing streak with an 11-0 shutout in Baltimore.

The skinny

The Orioles scored three times in the second inning and knocked out Pavano in the fifth after eight runs -- seven earned, all with two outs -- eight hits, three walks, three strikeouts and 99 pitches (60 strikes) over 4 2/3 innings.

The line was similar to the right-hander's abbreviated start on April 1 at Toronto, where Pavano gave up eight runs (seven earned) on six hits in four-plus innings. And though he didn't allow three home runs again on Tuesday, Pavano's inability to escape trouble was surprising, given his 15-inning shutout streak since that brutal outing in the opener.

Backed with an early lead, Orioles right-hander Jake Arrieta had little trouble with a Twins lineup missing Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Delmon Young -- scattering four hits and struck four over six innings.

The Baltimore bullpen took it from there, with Jason Berken escaping a bases-loaded jam in the top of the eighth and Vladimir Guerrero padding the lead with a two-out, three-run homer off deposed closer Joe Nathan in the bottom half.

Turning point

Already trailing 4-0, Pavano had a chance to escape the bottom of the fifth unscathed despite loading the bases with two singles -- including a leadoff grounder shortstop Alexi Casilla couldn't handle -- and a walk.

He struck out Matt Reynolds for the second out and then got ahead of Matt Wieters 0-2. But Pavano's next three pitches missed, Wieters fouled off another and then a 3-2 sinker drifted over the heart of the plate, allowing Wieters to rip it off the right-field scoreboard for a bases-clearing double that extended the Orioles' lead to 7-0.

That was it for the Twins' chances and Pavano, whose earned-run average climbed to 5.47 in 24 2/3 innings this season. Dusty Hughes relieved and got Brian Roberts to bounce softly to Casilla, whose low throw Luke Hughes couldn't scoop at first base, allowing the eighth run to score.

Numbers game

2: Twins runners on base in the top of the fifth when Orioles pitching coach Mark Connor visited the mound. Arrieta responded by striking out Matt Tolbert on three pitches and then getting Jason Kubel on a lazy flyout to left field.

4: Runs batted in by Wieters, whose two-out single to center brought home the Orioles' first run in the second inning. Roberts followed with a bloop single that drove in two more runs and also doubled home Wieters in the fourth.

2: Scoreless innings thrown by newly recalled right-hander Eric Hacker in his first big-league appearance since Oct. 4, 2009.

22, 11: Pitches and strikes thrown by Nathan, who allowed three runs on three hits in his first appearance since blowing two saves at Tampa Bay.

Health watch

• 1B Justin Morneau (flu) sat out for a third consecutive game but could return as soon as Wednesday. He had three IVs on Monday night and was on the bench during Tuesday's game.

• LF Delmon Young also sat out after he came down with the flu in addition to sore ribs.

On deck

Nick Blackburn (1-2, 3.06 ERA) had allowed only one earned run in 16 2/3 innings before Tampa Bay scored five in the sixth and seventh on Friday, handing the right-hander his first loss. Blackburn's velocity has been down in the 88 to 89 mph range, but his sinker is doing its job, helping him induce 51.6% ground balls through three starts. On Wednesday (6:05 p.m., 1500 ESPN), he'll oppose rookie left-hander Zach Britton (2-1, 2.75), who suffered his first big-league loss on Friday at Cleveland, allowing five runs on eight hits in six innings. The 23-year-old California was the Orioles' third-round pick in 2006 and spent the entire summer at high Class-A ball only two years ago.

Coming up

• Thursday: at Baltimore, 6:05 p.m. RHP Scott Baker (0-2, 4.50) vs. RHP Jeremy Guthrie (1-2, 3.32).
• Friday: vs. Cleveland, 6:10 p.m. LHP Brian Duensing (1-0, 3.60) vs. RHP Fausto Carmona (1-2, 4.74).
• Saturday: vs. Cleveland, 12:10 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (1-3, 7.40) vs. TBD.

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