Arrieta, Markakis lead Orioles over Twins 4-2
BALTIMORE – Jake Arrieta pitched seven scoreless innings, Nick Markakis homered and drove in three runs, and the Baltimore Orioles marked the 20th anniversary of the opening of Camden Yards by defeating the Minnesota Twins 4-2 Friday.
Making his first opening day start, Arrieta (1-0) allowed two hits, struck out four and walked two in a 97-pitch performance reminiscent of the gem that Rick Sutcliffe tossed against the Cleveland Indians in the inaugural opener at the ballpark.
Sutcliffe, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch Friday, christened Camden Yards by pitching a five-hit shutout on April 6, 1992.
The only two hits against Arrieta came in the fourth. The right-hander didn't make it the distance, but that didn't detract from what he accomplished in his first start since elbow surgery ended his season last August.
Baltimore newcomer Matt Lindstrom gave up two hits in the eighth and Troy Patton yielded a two-run homer to Josh Willingham in the ninth. Jim Johnson then got two outs — the last one with runners on the corners — for the save.
Markakis hit a two-run homer in the first inning and added an RBI triple in the sixth. He also walked and scored twice.
Carl Pavano (0-1) allowed four runs and five hits over seven innings in his third career opening day start. He issued two walks, and both times the runner ended up scoring.
Minnesota opened last season with a 13-3 loss to Toronto and ended up finishing in last place. Pavano took the loss in that one, too.
Although the Orioles have fallen upon hard times since Camden Yards opened, the folksy, old-fashioned ballpark that stands in the shadow of the B&O Warehouse has undergone only a few cosmetic changes over the past 20 years.
Camden Yards used to attract a sellout crowd for every game. That is no longer the case, but on this day 46,773 fans packed the stadium under a clear sky on a chilly afternoon.
Soon after Sutcliffe casually tossed a strike on the outside corner to former batterymate Chris Hoiles, Arrieta began the Orioles' season with a first-pitch strike to Denard Span.
The Twins didn't get their first hit until Span beat out a grounder leading off the fourth. Justin Morneau then singled with two outs before Willingham lined out to left.
Markakis put Baltimore up 2-0 in the first with an opposite-field drive to left after J.J. Hardy drew a one-out walk. Pavano retired the next eight batters before Markakis drew a leadoff walk in the fourth. Adam Jones followed with a double and Matt Wieters hit a run-scoring grounder for a 3-0 lead.
In the sixth, Hardy led off with a single and Markakis hit a liner to right that Ryan Doumit failed to grab near the wall while looking into the sun.
NOTES: Markakis is the first Oriole to homer in his initial at-bat on opening day since Luis Matos in 2005. ... It was the third straight year the Twins opened the season on the road. ... Willingham played in his 800th career game. ... In his only start against the Twins last year, Arrieta threw six shutout innings. ... Baltimore is 13-4 at Camden Yards on opening day.