Cabrera, Jones stumble in loss

The Baltimore Sun

MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Daniel Cabrera has been nearly unstoppable for the Orioles through the first two months of the season.

Last night, he was utterly hittable, delivering his worst statistical performance since his initial 2008 start as the Orioles lost, 7-5, to the Minnesota Twins.

The Orioles (28-30) have dropped nine of their past 10 to Minnesota.

It was a night filled with highlight-reel moments, from an incredible diving catch with the bases loaded to a towering upper-deck home run to a two-run sacrifice fly courtesy of a fallen outfielder.

It even included a fan who ran onto the Metrodome field in the eighth inning and then calmly fell to the center-field turf as if he were taking a nap before he was handcuffed and led away.

The best defensive play of the night occurred in the bottom of the third when Melvin Mora stopped the Twins from breaking the game open early.

With the bases loaded and two outs and the Orioles leading 3-2, Michael Cuddyer roped a liner down the third-base line for what looked to be a sure double.

But Mora dove to his right and snagged the line drive in the air to end the threat.

In the end, it didn't matter, though, because the Twins rallied against Cabrera (5-2).

The big blow was the game's strangest. With the Orioles leading 5-2 with one out and runners on second and third in the bottom of the fifth inning, Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer hit a deep fly to center fielder Adam Jones.

Nick Punto scored easily from third to make it 5-3, and speedy rookie Carlos Gomez was on his way to third when Jones slipped on the warning track and fell on his back.

Jones alertly flipped to left fielder Jay Payton, who quickly threw home, but Gomez never stopped moving and scored Minnesota's fourth run.

Two runs on one out. The first time that has happened in big-league baseball in seven years. It was that kind of night.

The next inning, the Twins scored twice more to take the lead on Jason Kubel's RBI triple and another sacrifice fly - this time of the conventional, one-run variety off the bat of Delmon Young.

While the Twins were chipping away at a laboring Cabrera, Minnesota reliever Boof Bonser, who was demoted to the bullpen this week, was keeping his club in the game.

After the Orioles bashed Minnesota starter Glen Perkins for five runs (four earned) and nine hits in four innings, Bonser entered and shut down an attacking Orioles offense.

Bonser (3-6) gave up just one hit in 2 2/3 innings. Minnesota relievers, including closer Joe Nathan (16th save), kept the Orioles off the board, and Mauer added an insurance run in the seventh with a towering 395-foot blast off Jamie Walker that landed in the right-field upper deck.

The Orioles took an early lead with back-to-back solo homers in the first against Perkins. With two outs, Mora homered to left, followed by Kevin Millar's team-leading 10th home run.

They went up 3-0 in the second on a single by Brian Roberts.

Twice, Cabrera was staked to a three-run lead and couldn't hold it.

He didn't walk anyone, but he surrendered eight hits in six innings. He hit two batters and threw a wild pitch that scored a run. It was his first loss since May 3, and it ended the Orioles' two-game winning streak.

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