Baker, 2 relievers shut out Dodgers
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- In the wake of a blowout loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Minnesota Twins focused on sending the NL club back to California with a pair of losses.
Thanks to Scott Baker, they were able to achieve just that.
Baker struck out nine while pitching into the eighth inning and Ben Revere had two hits to help the Twins win the three-game series with a 1-0 victory Wednesday.
Baker (6-5) allowed six hits and walked one in 71/3 innings, dropping his ERA to 3.15. Minnesota rebounded from Monday night's 15-0 drubbing with a 6-4 win on Tuesday, then gutted out a squeaker in the finale.
"Winning two out of three after getting blown out in the first one is a nice way to come back," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Proud of the guys, so we'll go from there.
Baker sure has found a groove at home, going 3-1 with a 0.29 ERA in his last four starts at Target Field. He struck out 10 in eight scoreless innings against the Padres on June 18.
"I've really felt good the past four or five outings and three of them happened to be at home," Baker said. "I'm making good two-strike pitches right now and been able to finish some hitters. If I do that I feel pretty good about it."
Rubby De La Rosa (3-3) also was impressive, giving up just one run and six hits in seven innings for Los Angeles. After hammering out 25 hits on Monday night, the Dodgers couldn't string anything together against Baker and two relievers.
With the tying run on base in the eighth, Glen Perkins fanned Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp to end the inning and Matt Capps finished the seven-hitter to earn his 13th save.
The Dodgers left eight runners on base and their big boppers -- Ethier and Kemp -- combined to go 1 for 8 with five strikeouts.
"We throw up a ton of runs, you know, and then you get good pitching and we don't put up any runs," first-year Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "It's pretty much been the tale of our season. Really, for the most part, we haven't been able to match up what we are doing as far as putting up runs and not giving any up."
Revere hit a leadoff triple in the first and scored on Tsuyoshi Nishioka's groundout. Minnesota left the bases loaded in the second inning, and De La Rosa settled into a pitching duel with Baker after that.
The right-hander walked 15 batters in his previous four starts, but showed much better control against the free-swinging Twins. He had two walks Wednesday, including one intentional pass.
Baker was even better, so good that Gardenhire sent him out to start the eighth with a pitch count of 108. Baker struck out Tony Gwynn Jr. before walking Casey Blake. Baker finished with a career-high 119 pitches, something the Twins could afford with an extra day of rest for him coming up.
"He's confident and he's attacking," Gardenhire said. "I don't think he worries about too much out there. He just goes and attacks."
Gardenhire went to the lefty Perkins, who got Ethier looking for the slugger's third strikeout. Then the red-hot Kemp chased a breaking ball low and away to end the inning.
"He used his breaking ball really well on Ethier," Gardenhire said. "That's one of the more dangerous guys in the world and then you've got Kemp who is right at the top of the MVP list over there and he went right at him too."
The Dodgers just turned the halfway point on the season, playing in their 82nd game on Wednesday, and Mattingly called the first half "a rocky road." The inconsistency on the field was overshadowed by an ugly dispute between owner Frank McCourt and Major League Baseball that spilled into bankruptcy court this week.
MLB is accusing McCourt of siphoning off more than $100 million in club revenue to help fund a lavish lifestyle with wife and former team CEO Jamie McCourt, who is asking for half of his assets in divorce proceedings. But the Dodgers argue that Commissioner Bud Selig's refusal to approve a broadcast rights agreement with Fox Sports is what is causing the cash flow problem.
On Tuesday, McCourt gained approval from a judge to enter into a $150 million bankruptcy financing arrangement to keep the team running.
NOTES: The Dodgers (36-46) face the Angels on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series. ... Twins 2B Alexi Casilla got the day off because of a stiff back and banged-up thumb on his throwing hand. ... Twins RHP Kevin Slowey was scheduled to throw 50 pitches for Class-A Fort Myers on Wednesday as he continues to work his way back from an abdominal injury. ... Mattingly said SS Rafael Furcal was scheduled to DH during his rehab assignment on Wednesday. He didn't rule out Furcal returning to the Dodgers by the weekend, but said the team would wait and see how he reacts over the next few days. ... Minnesota hosts Milwaukee in the opener of a weekend series on Friday.