The clutch hit finally came: O’s top Minnesota in series finale

Frustrated most of the afternoon by their inability to get a key hit with runners in scoring position, Mark Reynolds ended nearly eight innings of frustration for the Orioles this afternoon. His two-run single to center put the Orioles ahead and they beat the Twins 4-3 to split this four-game series by winning the last two.

Down 3-2 entering the eighth, Matt Wieters and Wilson Betemit drew one-out walks and moved up a base on a groundout. With Ryan Flaherty on deck, the Twins elected to pitch to Reynolds and he dumped a single into short center to plate two runs and give the Orioles their first lead of the day.

Reynolds entered today batting just .130 with five RBIs over his past 18 games. Reynolds did have a four-RBI game Monday giving him six RBIs in this series.

The Orioles improved their major league best record in one-run games to 18-6 and they are now 32-14 in games decided by two runs or fewer.

The Orioles had been frustrated throughout the game, including an inning before Reynolds’ key hit. They scored once to pull within 3-2 but left the bases loaded when Jim Thome grounded into a double play. At that point, they were 0-for-6 today and 1-for-17 over the last three games with runners in scoring position.

After Minnesota took a 2-0 lead in the first, Chris Davis brought Baltimore to within one with a long solo homer to right in the second. It was his 15th of the year and snapped a 3-for-26 run for Davis.

Wei-Yin Chen got his first win since June 17 at Atlanta. He pitched seven innings and gave up six hits and three runs, throwing 108 pitches. Chen is now 8-5 with an ERA of 3.80.

Pedro Stop pitched out of a jam in the eighth before Jim Johnson picked up his second save in two games and 28th on the season.

The Orioles improve to 35-5 when they get a quality start and 23-1 when their starting pitcher goes seven or more innings.

The Orioles’ record improves to 48-44 and now they head to Cleveland to begin a four-game series on Friday night when Miguel Gonzalez (1-1, 2.59 ERA) pitches against Derek Lowe (8-7, 4.43 ERA) at 7:05 p.m.

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