Valencia's blast, Cuddyer's double and vintage Baker lead Twins to win
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MINNEAPOLIS -- If there's such a thing as "vintage Scott Baker" we certainly saw it in the Minnesota Twins' 4-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday night.
Baker, coming off one of his shortest and most disappointing outings of the season last week, hurled seven shutout innings, striking out four while allowing only five hits and two walks.
Baker's mound adversary, Jered Weaver, came into the game as the major-league strikeout leader with 186 punchouts in 168 innings, but he fanned only three Twins hitters and was victimized by a four-run fifth inning.
Danny Valencia opened the scoring with a mammoth, 426-foot upper-deck shot to left field -- his second home run of the season -- putting the Twins up 1-0. With two outs, Orlando Hudson tripled to the gap in right-center, and Weaver followed by walking Joe Mauer and Jason Kubel to load the bases.
Michael Cuddyer then fouled off five two-strike pitches before ripping a bases-clearing double that put the Twins up 4-0.
That's all the Twins would need. Jesse Crain came on to pitch a scoreless eighth, and Matt Capps finished things off, giving the Twins a five-game lead over the White Sox in the American League Central.
RHP Nick Blackburn (7-7, 6.66) returns to face RHP Rich Harden (4-4, 5.45) on Monday night, as the Twins open a four-game series against the Teas Rangers.