Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Ubaldo Jimenez struck out 10 over 7 1/3 scoreless innings to guide the Baltimore Orioles to a 3-0 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday in the opener of a three-game set from Target Field.
Jimenez (1-4) surrendered just three hits and a walk to earn his first win of the season. Zach Britton finished the eighth inning and Tommy Hunter pitched a scoreless ninth for his eighth save of the season.
"I was able to do what I was supposed to do and be able to get deep into the game and help out the team," Jimenez said of picking up his first win.
Nelson Cruz had a two-run homer for Baltimore, winners in three straight. Cruz finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored while Matt Wieters drove in a run and had his sixth two-hit game in his last seven starts.
Ricky Nolasco (2-3) was the hard-luck loser, tossing a complete game in the setback. Nolasco was touched for three runs on nine hits while striking out six.
"Ricky threw the ball great," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of his starter. "He pitched great for us with a complete ballgame, but against Jimenez tonight it wasn't enough."
Neither team hit well with runners in scoring position, as Baltimore finished 1-for-10 and Minnesota went 0-for-11.
Sam Fuld saved a run in the first inning with a spectacular catch against the wall in center field, robbing Manny Machado of extra bases. Baltimore scored in the fourth, however, when Wieters sent a similar drive to center that Fuld was unable to come up with. Cruz doubled earlier in the frame and scored on Wieters' two-bagger.
Cruz made it 3-0 two innings later when he belted his eighth homer of the year, a no-doubter to the third deck in left field.
Britton took over for Jimenez with one out and a man on second in the eighth and got some help from his defense. Brian Dozier smacked a hard grounder to third, where Machado made a diving snag, looked the runner back to second and fired to first for the out.
Trevor Plouffe doubled to start the ninth off Hunter, but the Baltimore closer struck out Chris Colabello and Jason Kubel before inducing a weak grounder to second by Josmil Pinto to secure the win.
The first five hitters in Minnesota's lineup all struck out at least twice. Plouffe fanned three times ... Baltimore outhit Minnesota, 9-4 ... The Twins have lost four straight games.