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Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez delivers in the sixth inning of Friday night’s game against the Minnesota Twins. USA Today Sports

Jimenez carves up Twins

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Jimenez carves up Twins
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MINNEAPOLIS (TSX) — Early on, both the Baltimore Orioles and Minnesota Twins looked like teams that played long doubleheaders the day before. Especially their bats.

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And while Minnesota’s stayed quiet all night, Baltimore’s woke up in the sixth inning and provided enough offense for starter Ubaldo Jimenez, as the Orioles took the first of a three-game series against the Twins 3-0 Friday at Target Field.

The embattled Jimenez, who entered the game Friday 0-4 with a 6.59 ERA, looked like the Ubaldo of old, tossing 7 1/3 innings of shutout ball, striking out a season-high 10 Twins and walking only one for his first win of the season. The 10 punch-outs were the most by a Baltimore starter this season.

Desperately in need of a strong — and lengthy — outing from a starter, the Twins’ Ricky Nolasco was solid too, allowing two doubles and a run in the fourth inning before running into trouble to start the sixth.

A hard single off the wall by Orioles third baseman Manny Machado set up a towering home run into the third deck in left field by left fielder Nelson Cruz, his eighth homer of the season. Nolasco then gave up a single and a walk, but worked out of the jam with a pair of groundouts and a strikeout to end the inning.

Nolasco took the loss, but had his best outing of the season, going the distance and allowing three runs (all earned), on nine hits and a walk. He struck out six and fell to 2-3 but saw his ERA drop nearly a run from 6.67 to 5.82

Cruz had the first double in the fourth inning and came around to score two batters later on a double by catcher Matt Wieters.

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