MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -The Minnesota Twins are finally on a roll, and so is Delmon Young.
Michael Cuddyer doesn't think that is a coincidence.
Young's fourth hit of the night scored Cuddyer in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Minnesota Twins to a 7-6 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night.
Justin Morneau hit his 29th homer of the season for the Twins, who have won five games in a row for the first time all season as they chase the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.
A notoriously slow starter, Young hit .241 in April and .236 in May, but has rebounded nicely of late. Over his last 10 games, Young is hitting .292 with three homers and 13 RBIs to raise his average to .266. His four hits on Tuesday night tied a career high.
``He's been swinging great this month and we need that,' Cuddyer said. ``Since he's been swinging great, we've been playing better. I think that's a direct correlation.'
With two outs in the ninth, Cuddyer hit a liner off a diving Brian Roberts' glove at second base to get things started. Kam Mikolio (0-1) then walked Jason Kubel before Young hit one the opposite way. Cuddyer easily beat right fielder Nick Markakis' throw home and the jubilant Twins mobbed Young at first base.
``The last couple weeks, we'll give up some runs early,' Young said. ``From what the guys have been saying, this is the best offense they've had here in the last 10 years, so we know we can score runs and we know we can do it with one swing of the bat.'
The Twins (63-63) moved into a tie with the White Sox, who lost to Boston, for second place in the division.
Michael Aubrey had a double and three RBIs for the Orioles, who led 5-3 going into the sixth, but never were able to come up with the big hit to put the game away.
Jose Mijares (2-2) pitched one inning for the win and the Twins bullpen allowed only two runs over the final 6 1-3 innings in relief of Armando Gabino, who was shaky in his major league debut.
Gabino became the 22nd pitcher used by the Twins in a year plagued by injuries and riddled with inconsistency. The club record for pitchers used in a season is 23 in 1989.
Gabino lasted only 2 2-3 innings, giving up five hits and four runs with three walks, but the Orioles could have had so much more. Before the game, Orioles manager Dave Trembley spoke of the importance of staying on the 25 year old and taking advantage when he struggled.
``If you get a chance early, you better not let them off the ropes,' Trembley said. ``You've got to go after him. You've got to get him early.'
Baltimore stranded eight runners in the first four innings and left the bases loaded in the third and fourth innings.
``I don't feel like we gave it away, I feel we didn't take it,' Trembley said. ``It was there for us to take, and we didn't take it.'
Those missed opportunities allowed the Twins to scratch their way back into it, even though Gabino and Philip Humber combined to walk seven hitters in 3 2-3 innings.
Morneau, in his second game back after missing six with an inner ear infection, hit a solo homer in the third inning. It was his first since Aug. 2, a span of 51 at_bats.
Alexi Casilla's two-run double off Brian Bass highlighted a three-run sixth inning that tied the game 6-all.
Orioles starter Brian Matusz gave up three runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks in five innings.
``A guy goes out there and gives us a three run lead in the last four innings,' Bass said. ``You're expected to hold it and win the game. Unfortunately I coughed it up and didn't get it done.'
Denard Span had a triple and two RBIs for the Twins.
NOTES: Roberts went 0 for 5 and did not reach base for the first time in 27 games, snapping the longest active streak in the majors. ... Orioles CF Felix Pie made a brilliant lunging catch on a gapper by Carlos Gomez in the second inning. He also had a baserunning blunder in the sixth when Morneau caught a ball in foul territory and doubled Pie up trying to advance to third base. ... Lefties were 0 for 8 against Matusz in his previous five starts of the season. Twins lefties Span, Mauer and Morneau combined to go 3 for 9 with a homer and three RBIs.
The Associated Press News Service
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