- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 25, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) | Scott Baker allowed a run and four hits over seven innings Monday night, leading the Minnesota Twins to their fourth straight win with a 2-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Jason Kubel drove in the go-ahead run, and Alexi Casilla tripled and scored on a wild pitch from Baltimore rookie Chris Tillman in the sixth inning.

Minnesota matched its season-high winning streak of four as it tries to gain ground on Detroit and the White Sox in the American League Central.

Baker (12-7) retired 10 consecutive Orioles at one point. After scoring the game’s first run in the top of the third inning, the Orioles would get only one more runner in scoring position until the ninth.

Jose Mijares pitched a perfect eighth for the Twins. Then Joe Nathan issued a pair of two-out walks in the ninth before he struck out Matt Wieters to earn his 32nd save.

For Baker, who struck out five and walked one, this was the latest in a string of strong starts. After opening the season 2-6, Baker has gone 10-1 with a 3.67 ERA since June 1.

Baker’s performance was a boost for a Minnesota team that is trying to gain some much-needed momentum. Minnesota has won six of seven and moved within one game of .500 (62-63).

Twins All-Star slugger Justin Morneau returned to the lineup after missing six games because of an inner ear infection. He went 0-for-2 with two walks.

Tillman (1-2) was up to the matchup. Aided by three double plays, the 21-year-old, who was making only his sixth major league start, didn’t allow a runner past second base until the sixth inning.

Casilla tripled to lead off the sixth and scored on a wild pitch, tying the game at 1-1. After Denard Span and Orlando Cabrera singled, Tillman struck out Joe Mauer before intentionally walking Morneau to load the bases.

After Mark Hendrickson replaced Tillman, Span scored on Kubel’s sacrifice fly for a 2-1 lead.

Baltimore took a 1-0 lead in the third when Michael Aubrey singled and scored on a Brian Roberts double. Roberts leads the majors with 48 doubles this season.

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