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Orioles rough up Silva, knock off Twins

Sep 23, 2006 - 2:29 AM BALTIMORE (Ticker) -- Carlos Silva and Daniel Cabrera were going in opposite directions. That pattern took a turn Friday night.

Cabrera rebounded from a series of pathetic performances and the Baltimore Orioles took advantage of Silva's worst start in three weeks to post a 7-3 win over the Minnesota Twins.

Leadoff hitter Brian Roberts had three hits, including a two-run homer, and three RBI as the Orioles handed the Twins their second straight loss in the opener of a three-game series.

"I think you can probably see the intensity level pick up a little bit when playing teams that are in the race," Roberts said.

Minnesota (90-63) fell 1 1/2 games behind first-place Detroit in the American League Central Division race, but remained 5 1/2 games ahead of the Chicago White Sox in the wild card race.

"Tough loss, facing a tough pitcher out there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Cabrera is one of those guys who is hard to face. He has great stuff. Just absolutely great stuff. He is here and there and he shoots it all over the place, but he can make some fantastic pitches on you."

Cabrera (8-10), who had allowed 18 runs and 28 hits in 19 2/3 innings spanning four starts, looked like a different pitcher, holding the Twins to three runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked three.

"We went into the game knowing that he (Cabrera) had 99 walks so we kind of took the first pitch and tried to work him," Minnesota's Torii Hunter said. "That didn't work. He had the strike zone down and how many guys did he walk, one or two? He pitched well."

Silva, meanwhile, had sparkled in previous three starts, yielding just two runs in 11 hits in 20 innings while going 2-0.

But with Roberts leading a torrid top of the lineup, Silva (10-14) was in trouble throughout, allowing five runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings.

"It's not the time of the year we need those kind of starts," Gardenhire said. "You just got to keep plugging along."

"First thing we thought after he (Roberts) hit that home run was we gave him the day off yesterday to freshen him up a little bit," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. "We thought that might have been something that went in our favor."

The top five batters in Baltimore's lineup accounted for 12 of its 15 hits. Rookie Nick Markakis had a pair of RBI doubles and Miguel Tejada added three hits, giving him 205 for the season and boosting his average to .332.

"It is good to finish strong," Tejada said. "You are seeing a lot of young guys coming up and doing a great job."

Orioles rookie lefthander Brian Burres gave up a single to Luis Castillo, the first batter he faced in the seventh, to allow the Twins within 5-3, but he retired the next four batters and closer Chris Ray pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

Roberts hit a two-run homer in the second and Markakis had the first of his RBI doubles as the Orioles went ahead, 4-1. Roberts added a run-scoring double and scored on Melvin Mora's RBI base hit in the eighth to put it out of reach.

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