MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -Brad Bergesen brought much-needed calm to a Baltimore Orioles team that could sure use some order.
Bergesen's sinker was at his best for last-place Baltimore and Ty Wiggington hit his 10th homer, just one short of his total last season, in a damp 2-0 victory over Minnesota on Thursday.
``I'm to the point at my mental state that I'm getting back to even keel,' said Bergesen, who worked 6 2-3 innings after failing to last past the fifth inning in each of his first four starts.
Carl Pavano (3-3) dropped his second straight eight-inning, two-run performance, the tough-luck loser both times the Twins have been shut out this year. He went right at the free-swinging Orioles, throwing 70 of 97 pitches for strikes, but Wigginton smacked on a hanging slider into the left-field seats in the second inning. He is second behind Chicago's Paul Konerko (12) on the American League home run list.
``What are you going to do?' Pavano said. ``You've got to tip your hat sometimes to the other pitcher.'
Bergesen (2-2) scattered six hits and two walks. Will Ohman relieved him and walked Justin Morneau to load the bases, but blew strike two and three past Jim Thome to end the seventh.
Alfredo Simon pitched the ninth for his third save to finish the game in 2 hours, 17 minutes, a brisk pace the sellout, umbrella-armed crowd of 38,489 didn't mind at all.
Bergesen was a big part of the speed of the game, getting ground ball after ground ball.
``That's not only the best I've seen him pitch, that's probably the most relaxed I've seen him,' manager Dave Trembley said, adding: ``He's a guy we count on. He was our best last year as far as quality starts.'
Bergesen went 7-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 19 starts last year as a rookie for the Orioles, before his season was cut short at the end of July by a scary line off the shin. The right-hander then hurt his shoulder before spring training throwing too hard too soon while he filmed a commercial for the team.
His first four starts couldn't have been much worse, with 15 1-3 innings, 28 hits and 24 runs allowed and a 12-day stint in the minors in between. But armed with Wigginton's no-doubt, two-run drive, Bergesen settled in the steady drizzle.
``I think it was going down to Triple-A for 10 days and getting out of this atmosphere,' he said. ``It's a stressful atmosphere. I got down there and just really tried to relax and get back to my old self.'
Michael Cuddyer hit a deep drive to center with the bases full in the second, but Adam Jones caught it on the warning track. The Twins fell to 7 for 47 with the bases loaded this season. They also saw their franchise-record streak of six straight games with at least two first-inning runs end.
``I think we're doing a few things right,' manager Ron Gardenhire said, growing a bit agitated about questions from reporters regarding the bases-loaded struggle and the second straight shutout with Pavano on the mound.
``It's not really a wasted start. It's baseball,' Gardenhire said.
This was the first visit to the limestone-and-glass ballpark for the Orioles, who have gone 6-5 since their 2-16 start but still have baseball's worst record.
The Twins enjoyed a sunny, mostly warm first homestand in April, but the weather has been less than ideal so far in May. The first-pitch temperature was 52 degrees and though there was hardly any wind the rain came in the second inning and kept up at a steady pace. Still, in their first outdoor experience since 1981 before the move to the Metrodome, not one of the 13 games at Target Field have been delayed by even a minute.
NOTES: Orioles RH Koji Uehara came off the disabled list before the game and pitched a perfect eighth. The 35-year-old, making $5 million this season, appeared for the first time since elbow tendinitis knocked him out last June. Trembley said before the game that Uehara, the Orioles' first Japan-born player, will only be used for an inning at a time. ... The Twins have been outhomered at home 14-7 this year. ... Pavano induced three double plays. He pitched with a full week of a rest, due to a stiff neck and a slight rotation shuffle. He was worried about his range of motion following his last start, but said he felt fine after the game.
The Associated Press News Service
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