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Orioles fall to Twins, 2-1; Ubaldo Jimenez walks three in only two innings

The Orioles and Twins played a low-offense affair on Sunday afternoon, with the O's dropping a 2-1 game on the road. Ubaldo Jimenez walked three batters and failed to record an out in the third inning.

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Ubaldo Jimenez walked the first batter he saw on four pitches. The Beastie Boys offer guidance for what to do when it's that kind of party. My advice to you in turn would be to not eat the mashed potatoes. As far as baseball is concerned, there were no taters mashed today, nor was much of anything mashed at all. The Orioles and Twins combined for 11 hits but only three runs between them, with the O's on the short end of a 2-1 game.

The leadoff walk came around to score and put the Orioles in an early 1-0 hole. That's how these things work. Minnesota's Jordan Schafer stole second base on a strikeout, the throw from O's catcher Ryan Lavarnway coming in to the far side of the bag. Schafer scored when Joe Mauer doubled to the opposite field.

Jimenez followed up that first inning performance by striking out the side in the second inning. He struck out five batters in his two innings of work, though he also allowed three walks. The Orioles brought Jimenez out to start the third inning and he returned to walking people. After a walk and a single, T.J. McFarland entered in relief of Jimenez. McFarland quickly defused the threat, inducing a double-play ball from Mauer.

"I felt really good with what I was working on and was able to remember," Jimenez told reporters after the start. "I didn't pay attention to the result or anything." These are the kinds of things you can only get away with saying in spring training.

On one hand, it's comforting to know that the Jimenez taking the mound is not a finished product. On the other hand, it's not very comforting knowing that the Orioles' $50 million starter who might very well shove a better pitcher to the bullpen or Norfolk basically needs a complete overhaul of his everything in order to be successful in Baltimore.

The Twins did tag McFarland the next inning thanks to back-to-back doubles by the Eduardos Nunez and Escobar. The double by Escobar sailed to the deepest part of the stadium, far over the head of center fielder David Lough. That is something of an impressive feat given that the Twins announcers who were calling the game seemed to think that the wind was dampening fly balls all day.

After the fourth inning, the Twins did not get another hit all day. Mark Hendrickson and Tommy Hunter each worked a scoreless inning of relief. Hunter walked a pair of batters but kept the runners from crossing the plate. Brad Brach added a couple of perfect innings with two strikeouts recorded.

Most days, be it regular season or spring training, if your pitchers allow only four hits, your team will probably be winning the game. The Orioles even out-hit the Twins 7-4 in the game. Their hits were scattered throughout the game and all of them were singles. It was not the A-list lineup, and it's still only March 8, so the time to worry is not yet.

Jimmy Paredes was the only Oriole with a multi-hit game. He drove in the lone Orioles run with a two-out single in the fifth inning. The rally, such as it was, began with a single from Lavarnway, who was helped along to third when Twins third baseman Miguel Sano made a wild throw in attempting to retire Jonathan Schoop on a ground ball. That let Lavarnway score easily on Paredes' single. Without the error they might not have gotten any runs at all.

Next up for the Orioles is a home game against the Phillies on Monday at 1:05. The game will not be on TV or the radio in Baltimore, though if you have paid for GameDay Audio you should be able to access the Phillies broadcast of the game.