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Orioles earn 1st 4-game sweep in Minnesota

There are times in all sports when the game itself takes a back seat to events that surround it, and that was the case in Thursday's game between Baltimore and Minnesota.

The Orioles took the field just one day after the organization was dealt a heavy blow as former Oriole great Mike Flanagan was found dead due to an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head outside his home in Maryland at the age of 59.

A color commentator for the Orioles' television network, Flanagan went 23-9 in 1979 en route to winning the AL Cy Young Award and was a member of Baltimore's 1983 World Series winning team.

The Orioles played the game in a way Flanagan would have liked with a 6-1 win over the Twins to complete Baltimore's first-ever four-game sweep in Minnesota.

Mark Reynolds clubbed a three-run home run while Craig Tatum hit a two-run double for the Orioles, who had dropped five straight prior to this series.

"Tatum had a good game for us and everyone else was making contributions out there this whole series," said Baltimore manager Buck Showalter. "It was a good couple of days out here for us."

Jo-Jo Reyes (7-10) pitched six innings for the win as he gave up just one run on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts.

Justin Morneau drove in the lone run for the Twins, who have dropped five straight and seven of their last eight.

Francisco Liriano exited the game after just two innings with an apparent injury, but the team did not say if that was the reason he left. He gave up one run on two hits with three walks before departing.

Anthony Swarzak (3-4) took the loss for giving up five runs on eight hits over 3 1/3 innings of relief.

Also, Minnesota could be losing a couple of players in the near future as the Indians placed a waiver claim on Jim Thome while the White Sox put a claim out for Jason Kubel.

The Orioles grabbed the lead in the second inning when Robert Andino worked a bases-loaded walk, but the Twins tied the game in the bottom of the third on Morneau's RBI double to center.

The sixth inning saw Baltimore go ahead for good as Nolan Reimold singled and Ryan Adams walked before Tatum drove them both home with a double to left- center.

Reynolds padded the lead further with his 29th home run of the season with J.J. Hardy and Vladimir Guerrero on base for a 6-1 advantage.

Game Notes

Baltimore won six of the eight games against Minnesota this season...Baltimore's last four-game sweep on the road came last July 8-11 in Texas...The Orioles scored 24 runs during the series while limiting the Twins to just one run in each of the four games...Minnesota hosts Detroit for three games starting on Friday...Baltimore has a five-game series with the Yankees starting on Friday...Joe Mauer sat out his second straight game for Minnesota with a stiff neck.