Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Batting .040, Hicks delivers game-winning hit

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: April 7, 2013 - 3:31 PM

BALTIMORE -- The Twins needed Aaron Hicks' seventh-inning single to drive home the winning run in their 4-3 victory over the Orioles. But Hicks needed the hit even more.

Minnesota's rookie center fielder snapped an 0-for-13 drought and improved to 2-for-26 on the season by smacking a line drive into short right field, scoring Wilkin Ramirez and helping deliver the Twins' second straight series victory to open the season.

The Twins rallied from a 3-0 deficit behind the pitching of Pedro Hernandez and four relievers, scoring four runs despite being limited to four hits all day. Justin Morneau moved into ninth place on the Twins' all-time hit list, and into a tie for fifth among the team's all-time doubles leaders, by lifting a fly ball into short center field in the third inning. Orioles center fielderAdam Jones circled under the ball, but lost it in the sun at the last moment, and it fell to the ground, scoring two runs.

The Twins still trailed by a run in the seventh when Trevor Plouffe was hit by a Jason Hammel pitch, and Wilkin Ramirez grounded a single to left. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up, pinch-hitter Chris Parmelee tied the score with a sacrifice fly.

That brought up Hicks, whose batting average in his rookie season had fallen to .040 after an 0-for-11 skid to open the season and 0-for-13 since collecting his first hit on Thursday. The rookie swung at Hammel's first pitch, driving it to right to score Ramirez from second base.

Hernandez, activated Sunday for injured starter Cole De Vries, allowed four hits over five innings, including a two-run homer by ex-Twin J.J. Hardy. But he retired the final seven hitters he faced, and Anthony Swarzak, Brian Duensing, Jared Burton and Glen Perkins shut out Baltimore the rest of the way.

The Twins open a three-game series Monday afternoon in Kansas City at 3:10 p.m.


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