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Pelfrey fights command in loss to Orioles

Twins' bats cool after opening game's scoring with three-run second

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Johnny Monell, Xavier Paul and Steve Pearce helped pace the offense, including a three-run homer by Monell, to help lead the Orioles to an 11-5 win over the Twins on Wednesday night at Hammond Stadium.

The Orioles scored five runs in the third inning, with two of those runs being charged to right-hander Mike Pelfrey and the rest to reliever Jared Burton. Quintin Berry opened the scoring for the Orioles on an RBI double that knocked Pelfrey from the game after 2 1/3 innings. Paul added a run-scoring single off Burton to bring home Berry before Monell launched a three-run blast to right field.

Pelfrey, who rejoined the Twins on a two-year, $11 million deal this offseason, gave up two runs on three hits with two strikeouts in his second Grapefruit League outing.

"The biggest thing tonight was I didn't throw enough strikes," Pelfrey said. "I was kind of all over the place. But it's still early. And physically, I felt good."

Right-hander Chris Tillman, Baltimore's likely Opening Day starter, was also unable to get through three frames, giving up three runs (one earned) on four hits over 2 1/3 innings.

The Twins scored three runs in the second inning, aided by an error by Paul, who allowed Josh Willingham to advance to third base on a dropped flyball. Trevor Plouffe brought home Willingham with an infield single for the game's first run before Kurt Suzuki and Alex Presley added RBI singles of their own.

The Orioles also scored in the fourth against Twins closer Glen Perkins, who loaded the bases with one out and surrendered a run on a groundout from Jemile Weeks.

Baltimore broke it open with five runs in the sixth inning against left-hander Scott Diamond, but only one run was earned because of a throwing error by second baseman Jorge Polanco. After the run-scoring throwing error, Paul added an RBI groundout before Steve Pearce connected on a two-run double.

Orioles left-hander Zach Britton, who is competing for the fifth spot in Baltimore's rotation, threw two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. He took a ball off his right wrist on the final play of the fifth, though manager Buck Showalter said after the game he expected him to be fine.

The Twins scored twice in the seventh against right-hander Steve Johnson, as Eduardo Escobar laced an RBI triple and scored on a sacrifice fly from Kennys Vargas.

Up next for the Twins: Right-hander Ricky Nolasco is set to make his second Grapefruit League start for the Twins on Thursday, when they host the Cardinals at Hammond Stadium at 12:05 p.m. CT on MLB.TV and on Gameday Audio. Nolasco threw two scoreless innings Sunday against the Rays in his debut. Right-hander Adam Wainwright is slated to start for St. Louis.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger.
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