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BAL@MIN: Mauer connects for a three-run homer

MINNEAPOLIS -- After starting off the season with slow starts by their standards, Kevin Correia and Joe Mauer were able to pick it up in a big way against the Orioles on Saturday at Target Field.

Correia turned in his best outing of the season, while Mauer and Brian Dozier both homered to help lead the Twins to a 6-1 win over the Orioles to snap a four-game losing streak. Mauer delivered with a season-high four RBIs, keyed by a three-run homer to put the game out of reach in the seventh, while raising his batting average from .282 to .298 in the process.

Correia, who entered with a 7.33 ERA in five starts, gave up just one run on five hits over seven innings to pick up his second quality start and first win of the year. Correia got into a groove, as he retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced, including the final eight.

"It was a nice ballgame for us and it always starts with your starting pitcher," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Kevin gave us a good outing and it was a nice bounceback from him. He went deep into the game and used all his pitches. And we put some runs up there."

Correia said he leaned on Twins right-hander Ricky Nolasco for advice on how to attack Orioles hitters after Nolasco threw a complete game in Friday's 3-0 loss.

The lone run Correia allowed came in the second inning, when Adam Jones reached first on a wild pitch after striking out on a 1-2 curveball in the dirt. Jones promptly stole second base before scoring on a single from former Twins shortstop J.J. Hardy.

"Ricky did a great job last night, and I was able to talk to him and kind of get a game plan for what I needed to do to get deep into the game," Correia said. "And we were able to score some runs and kind of bust it open with that big inning."

Correia outpitched Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, who went five innings, surrendering three runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk. The Twins were able to tee off on his fastball, as he had trouble locating his slider.

"My slider wasn't all that good today," Chen said through a translator. "So the hitter has one less pitch to worry about. I need to get all my pitches working so hitters have trouble staying on my fastball."

The Twins opened the scoring with a run in the first inning on a one-out RBI double from Trevor Plouffe to score Mauer, who singled with one out. It was Plouffe's Major League-leading 13th double of the young season.

Minnesota scored again in the third to take the lead on a solo blast from Dozier on a 3-2 fastball from Chen. Dozier has a team-leading eight homers this season, and all of them have been solo shots.

Dozier said the Twins made it a point to be more aggressive on Saturday, as they were letting too many hittable pitches go by in their four-game losing streak. So when Chen threw a fastball after falling behind 3-2, Dozier jumped all over it.

"He throws a lot of fastballs and fills up the zone pretty good," Dozier said. "It was good, because we wanted to be more aggressive. It was a fastball, 3-2, and I just got a good pitch to hit."

Mauer, who entered the game with a .136 batting average with runners in scoring position, improved that figure with an RBI single in the fifth to score Dozier, who reached on an infield single and went to second on a throwing error from third baseman Manny Machado.

Mauer added another big hit with runners in scoring position in the seventh to put the game out of reach, as he connected on a three-run blast to left field off O's reliever Brad Brach. It was Mauer's second homer of the season and his first since April 12.

"I felt good," Mauer said. "I had some good at-bats. I got some good pitches to hit and didn't miss them."

The Twins received a boost from their top two hitters in the order, as Dozier and Mauer combined to go 6-for-8 with five RBIs, two homers and five runs scored to pace the offense.

"Mauer had a huge day, and Dozier had a really nice day," Gardenhire said. "We had some guys have some nice days, so it was a good win for us." Comments