Britton and Deduno dueling in Minnesota (O’s lose 6-4)

Zach Britton is making his first start for the Orioles in 2012. Samuel Deduno is making his second major league start.

The combination works if you’re a fan of low-scoring games.

The Orioles carried a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning before Jamey Carroll’s two-out double knotted the score. They moved ahead early, getting a leadoff single from Nick Markakis in the first, a two-base throwing error on Deduno and a wild pitch.

I guess that qualifies as manufacturing a run, though the Orioles didn’t exactly break a sweat.

Deduno has pitched for three teams in three years, including the Rockies and Padres. The Orioles might need him to work long relief tomorrow night.

Their run is unearned. They really should be lighting up this guy. No offense to Samuel Deduno, but ... where’s the offense?

Markakis is 2-for-2, making him 9-for-21 in five games as the leadoff hitter.

Britton isn’t sharp. He’s allowed five hits and walked four batters in four innings. But he’s cleared four innings, and he’s surrendered only one run.

Clearing four innings is reason enough to celebrate. The “surrendered only one run” part is gravy.

The Orioles failed to turn a double play in the fourth after Trevor Plouffe’s leadoff walk. I bring it up for two reasons: Britton could have used the double play, and I like typing the name “Trevor Plouffe.”

Britton’s pitch count is up to 84. The bullpen will have to get busy again. Just not as early as last night.

Update: Britton has a 4-1 lead in the fifth, courtesy of Adam Jones’ three-run homer to right field, and Deduno’s night has ended.

Jones has one career home run at Target Field. It’s a pretty big one for a team that desperately needs a win tonight.

Update II: It didn’t take long for the Orioles to cough up the lead.

Britton loaded the bases in the fifth, and Luis Ayala cleared them.

Orioles 4, Twins 4.

Britton’s final line: four-plus innings, six hits, four runs, six hits, one strikeout.

Britton threw 100 pitches, 54 for strikes. The six walks are a career high.

Ayala allowed runs in four of his last six appearances before tonight. He let three inherited runners score after replacing Britton.

The bullpen covered 22 2/3 innings in the last four games before tonight. It’s going to be busy again.

Update III: Ayala retired the first two batters in the seventh, gave up two hits, left the game and watched Pedro Strop allow both inherited runners to score.

Twins 6, Orioles 4.

Another All-Star break would come in real handy right about now.

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