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Jimenez carves up Twins

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

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

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.