- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 8, 2004

BALTIMORE — Limited to two hits over seven innings, the Minnesota Twins pulled even on a rally fueled by two walks and a bunt that rolled about 50 feet from the plate. Mike Cuddyer then gave Minnesota the lead in the ninth with a no-doubt shot that traveled farther than anything he had hit over the past five weeks.

Cuddyer’s two-run homer capped an improbable comeback by the Twins, who managed only four hits last night in a 3-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Pitching in the majors for the first time since July2, Orioles starter Matt Riley baffled the American League Central leaders before being lifted after walking the first two batters in the eighth with Baltimore up 1-0.

Jason Grimsley then gave up a bunt single to Shannon Stewart, who was trying to sacrifice the runners along but reached when the pitcher hesitated before moving toward the ball. That loaded the bases for Lew Ford, who hit into a 4-6-3 double play that enabled pinch-runner Augie Ojeda to score from third.

Minnesota took control in the ninth against Jorge Julio (2-4). Pinch-hitter Jason Kubel drew a one-out walk and after Cristian Guzman hit a fly ball, Cuddyer drove a 1-0 pitch deep into the left-field seats.

“That was a big home run there at the end,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “The ball wasn’t carrying great tonight, so Michael really had to get into the ball to hit that one out.”

It was Cuddyer’s ninth home run, the first since July31.

“It’s been awhile since I had one, that’s for sure,” he said. “It was a fastball right down the middle. He fell behind, and I knew he was a fastball pitcher.”

Julio then threw a high inside pitch that nearly hit Ojeda in the head, and plate umpire Ron Kulpa promptly ejected the right-hander.

“I never tried to hit the guy,” Julio insisted. “I don’t know why he threw me out.”

Gardenhire saw it differently.

After letting loose with a string of profane words, he said, “I don’t know to put it in the newspapers for you, but the guy ought to be suspended, throwing a 98mph fastball at a guy’s head like that.”

J.C. Romero (7-1) pitched a scoreless eighth for the Twins, extending his club-record run of shutout innings to 34, and Joe Nathan worked a perfect ninth for his 39th save.

Twins starter Brad Radke allowed one run and five hits in seven innings while locked in a duel with Riley, who entered with an 8.39 ERA. Radke extended his run of scoreless innings to 13 before Baltimore got a run in the sixth on a two-out single by David Newhan, celebrating his 31st birthday, and a double by Melvin Mora.

Riley began the season in the Orioles’ starting rotation, but was sent to the minors July2 immediately after a game against the Phillies in which he yielded five runs in one-plus innings. The demotion came in part because he took an unauthorized trip to Baltimore after being sent to Philadelphia ahead of the team.

Upon his return this week, the left-hander apologized to his teammates and manager Lee Mazzilli, who forgave the pitcher and awarded him a spot start. Asked before the game what it would take for Riley to keep his place in the rotation, Mazzilli said jokingly, “A no-hitter.”

Riley pitched a perfect seventh but was undone by his two walks in the eighth. He finished with four strikeouts and five walks.

“It was a good start toward trying to show I belong here,” he said. “I just ran out of juice in the eighth. I don’t think any of us knew that would happen until I got out there.”

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide