Arrieta and Markakis co-star as O’s beat Twins in opener

It took the Orioles a long time to name their opening day starter. It looks like Buck Showalter made the right decision.

Jake Arrieta blanked Minnesota on just two hits over seven innings as the Orioles beat the Twins 4-2 to win this afternoon in front of sellout crowd of 46,773.

Arrieta’s strong outing came 20 years to the day Rick Sutcliffe blanked Cleveland 2-0 in the first regular season game at Camden Yards. Josh Willingham’s two-run homer off Troy Patton in the ninth ended the Orioles bid for their sixth opening day shutout and first since 2005.

Arrieta allowed both hits in the fourth inning of his 97-pitch outing. He walked two and fanned four. Last season, he made 22 starts and held the other team scoreless just twice. One of those was a six-inning outing last April 19 against the Twins.

Nick Markakis co-starred with the Orioles right-hander. He had a homer and a three-RBI day in the win. Markakis hit a two-run homer to left-center off Carl Pavano in the first and added an RBI triple to right in the sixth.

It was his biggest RBI day since he knocked in four against Detroit last Aug. 14.

The Orioles improved to 37-22 all-time on opening day, winning the opener for the ninth time in the last 12 years. They are 28-13 when the opening game has been played in Baltimore.

In game two of the season, tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m., Tommy Hunter pitches for the Orioles against Minnesota lefty Francisco Liriano.

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