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Twins look to gain ground vs. Orioles

Sep 12, 2008 - 10:14 AM Minnesota (80-66) at Baltimore (65-80) 7:05 p.m. EDT

BALTIMORE (Ticker) -- The Minnesota Twins are still alive in two races. The Baltimore Orioles are just hoping to play spoiler.

The Twins will be looking to cut into their American League Central and wild-card deficits when they open a 10-game road trip at Camden Yards on Friday.

Minnesota dropped a 3-2 decision in 10 innings to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday to fall 5 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox (85-60) in the wild-card race but remained one game behind the Chicago White Sox (81-65), who lost to the Toronto Blue Jays. After going 5-9 on their Republican National Convention-fueled 14-game road trip, the Twins split six games on a brief homestand.

If Minnesota can stay close over the next 10 games, they finish the season with six straight at the Metrodome - three against the White Sox and three against the last-place Royals.

The Orioles have lost 17 of their last 21. The pitching staff is mostly to blame, having yielded 7.8 runs per game over that span.

Daniel Cabrera (8-9, 5.26 ERA), who has been a big part of the problem, will look to salvage his season. The Dominican righthander has been awful since the beginning of June, posting a 3-8 record with a 6.65 ERA while issuing 53 walks and allowing opponents a .323 batting average over his last 17 starts.

Cabrera, who has failed to make it out of the fifth inning in any of his last three starts, ranks second in the AL with 85 walks and ranks 39th out of 43 AL qualifiers in ERA.

Minnesota will counter with righthander Scott Baker (8-4, 3.66). In sharp contrast to Cabrera, the 26-year-old Baker has yielded 36 walks in 147 2/3 innings and is averaging over six innings per start.

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