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Birds lose ball in the sun, game to Twins

BALTIMORE - The Baltimore Orioles will have a tough time duplicating their remarkable success in one-run games from a year ago.

That much is evident one week into this season.

Minnesota came from behind to beat Baltimore 4-3 in front of 34,431 at Camden Yards on a sunny Sunday.

A sunny Sunday that seemed to have played a role in the outcome.

The Orioles (3-3) are winless in three games decided by one run, a record very much unlike 2012 when they went 29-9 in such games to set a major-league record.

Center fielder Adam Jones took some of the blame Sunday, one day after an error by first baseman Chris Davis in the ninth led to a Twins win. Jones fell victim to a near-cloudless, blue sky, and a high fly ball.

Minnesota (4-2) capitalized on a fielding gaffe and scored two runs in the third inning. Baltimore starter Hammel got Justin Morneau to fly to left-center with the bases loaded and two outs, but the ball dropped between Jones and left fielder Nolan Reimold.

Hammel got out of the inning, but his three-run lead had been trimmed to one.

"It went in the sun and I missed it," said Jones, a Gold Glove winner last year. "Could have got around it better. Mistake. Cost us a couple runs. Hammel is out there giving his heart out and a play like that you've got to make it."

The Twins grabbed the lead in the seventh on Aaron Hicks' two-out RBI single, which came after pinch-hitter Chris Parmelee's sacrifice fly tied the game. Hammel (1-1) pitched 6 2-3 innings but was done after Hicks' single and took the loss.

"He should have been through six scoreless except for the sun," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "But that's not going away. We just weren't able to overcome it. We had some people out there, just couldn't get a hit. Hits were at a premium today."

The Orioles mustered four hits against Twins pitching, with reliever Anthony Swarzak earning the win and Glen Perkins notching his second save.

The "high sky" got to Minnesota, too. Hicks seemed to lose track of a Jones fly ball in the third when he slipped and it landed in for a double. Two batters later, J.J. Hardy hit a pop-up in foul territory that catcher Joe Mauer mishandled for an error. But starter Pedro Hernandez got Hardy on a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Minnesota induced a pair of double plays, the second of which came from Reimold in the sixth. Reimold left the game with a right hamstring injury but said he should be ready for Monday's game in Boston.

Reimold agreed that Jones lost Morneau's fly ball in the sun, a play that got the Twins back in the game Sunday afternoon.

"I assumed he had it," Reimold said. "By the time he said he needed help, it was a little bit too late."

Hardy's two-run homer to left-center put the Orioles ahead in the second inning, and Nick Markakis added an RBI single with two outs that made it 3-0.

The lead didn't last, however, and another one-run game went into the loss column.

"We still can be 29-9," Jones said. "I think the numbers can happen like that, can't they? We lost our first two one-run games last year ...

"It's the first week of the season. Everybody will catch their breath and now the real long haul of the season is about to start."

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