Updated: 05/05/2014 2:38 PM KSTP.com
Minnesota Twins' Brian Dozier, right, safely steals second base as Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy gets the late throw from home during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Minneapolis, Sunday, May 4, 2014.
Photo: Photo: AP/Ann Heisenfelt
Minnesota Twins pitcher Phil Hughes delivers to the Baltimore Orioles during the third inning of a baseball game in Minneapolis, Sunday, May 4, 2014.
Photo: Photo: AP/ Ann Heisenfelt
Phil Hughes won his third start in a row, Trevor Plouffe and Kurt Suzuki hit two-run doubles and the Minnesota Twins beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 on Sunday.
Twins first baseman Joe Mauer left in the top of the third inning with lower-back spasms. He's considered day to day.
Hughes (3-1) gave up two runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings, walking none and striking out three.
Brought in as a free agent to help cure some of the Twins' starting pitching woes, Hughes again pitched like the ace the team hoped he'd be.
After giving up a single to Nick Markakis to start the game, Hughes retired the next 14 batters. Nelson Cruz broke up Hughes' shutout bid with two outs in the sixth, hitting a two-run shot for his ninth homer of the season.
Hughes gave up four earned runs in each of his first three starts this season. He has allowed a total of six earned runs in 19 1-3 innings over his last three outings.
Glen Perkins pitched a scoreless ninth for his seventh save in eight chances this year.
The Twins scored twice in the third, helped by the hustle of the Twins' most slump-ridden hitter.
Eduardo Escobar led off with a single off Miguel Gonzalez (1-3) and Pedro Florimon, who entered the game hitting .121, followed with a routine ground ball to second base.
Running hard down the line, Florimon barely beat shortstop J.J. Hardy's double-play relay to first base.
Brian Dozier then singled and one out later, Plouffe lined a double into the left-field corner that scored both runners.
Gonzalez walked the bases full with two outs, then walked Kurt Suzuki to force home a run. Reliever Troy Patton bailed him out of the jam by retiring Sam Fuld.
The Twins tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh against reliever Ryan Webb. Chris Colabello hit a one-out double, Jason Kubel walked and Suzuki hit a double to left that scored both runners.
Kubel slid home just ahead of catcher Matt Wieters' tag, a call that was confirmed via an instant-replay challenge.
NOTES: Plouffe leads the majors with 14 doubles. ... Minnesota wrapped up an eight-game homestand with a 3-5 record. RHP Kyle Gibson (3-2, 4.34) is scheduled to start on Monday when the Twins begin a four-game series at Cleveland. ... The Orioles will start RHP Chris Tillman (3-1, 3.68) on Tuesday when they open a three-game set at Tampa Bay.
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