Carroll County Times

Orioles blast past Twins for second straight win

BALTIMORE - It wasn't so long ago that the Baltimore Orioles began a season with two straight wins. It was actually just last season. In fact, the Orioles started 2011 with four wins in a row.

After that, victories were hard to come by.

The Orioles hope 2012 is different.

After Jake Arrieta's overpowering performance on Friday where he limited the Minnesota Twins to two hits in seven innings, Tommy Hunter followed it with seven scoreless of his own as the Orioles beat Minnesota 8-2 before 31,532 at Oriole Park on Saturday night.

Hunter (1-0) started slowly, allowing runners in three of the first four innings and multiple runners in two of them. After that, he settled in.

He threw seven scoreless innings before departing with the bases loaded in the eighth.

Hunter allowed two unearned runs in the eighth before departing leaving behind a satisfied crowd and manager.

"You see us getting deeper in the game with our starting pitching, we'll have some fun this year," Buck Showalter said.

"It's two out of 162, but it's a good way to start. We had good starts to start the season last year, so we'll see if it continues."

Hunter, who was a slow starter this spring because of a sore back, was pleased with his first start.

"It was definitely important. It's fun. That's what starting pitching is supposed to be. You're supposed to go deep in into the game and give your team a chance to win," Hunter said.

Baltimore's offense tattooed Francisco Liriano (0-1) for eight hits in four innings. He was charged with six runs - five of them earned. Ronny Paulino, Robert Andino and Nolan Reimold had six of the eight hits, and Adam Jones had a home run.

Paulino went 4-for-4 in his first game with the Orioles, and his first as designated hitter.

"I told him, 'It's that easy, huh? You've got to teach me how to do that,'" Andino said.

In his first start with the New York Mets last season, Paulino had five hits.

"First game in this city. Making a first impression is the best. It's a good feeling," Paulino said.

Jones' first home run, an opposite field shot to right, made it 1-0 in the second. In the third Paulino started the inning with a single. Andino followed, but left fielder Josh Willingham couldn't handle it, and Paulino scored on the error. Andino later scored on J.J. Hardy's double play to make it 3-0.

In the fourth, the Orioles (2-0) made it 6-0 on a two-run single by Andino and an RBI single by Reimold.

Nick Markakis hit a home run to right off Jared Burton with one out in the seventh. It was his second home run in as many days and gave him five hits in his first seven at-bats.

On Friday, Markakis hit his first opposite field home field home run since Sept. 14, 2008.

Two batters later, Matt Wieters hit his first home run of the season for an 8-0 lead.

Hunter allowed a leadoff double to Justin Morneau in the fourth and then hit Willingham with a pitch. After that, he didn't allow a hit until Alexi Casilla singled with one out in the eighth.

Ben Revere led off the inning for the Twins (0-2) with a slow grounder to third that Mark Reynolds booted for an error. When Denard Span singled to load the bases with none out, Showalter decided that Hunter's night was done after 98 pitches-one more than Arrieta threw on Friday.

Pedro Strop came after Hunter left and finished the eighth, and Luis Ayala pitched the ninth.

"Two games we've gotten deep in the game, and it really creates a good atmosphere for the hitters," Showalter said.

QUICK HITS: Reynolds fouled a ball off his instep and Showalter inserted rookie Ryan Flaherty in the ninth inning at third base. It was the major league debut for the Rule 5 draft choice. ... The Orioles have won six straight games against the Twins.