On the 20th anniversary of the opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the Baltimore Orioles rekindled the magic of the stadium that set the standard for all future ballparks.
The Orioles hope to keep the magic - and winning - going Saturday as they continue their season-opening series against the Minnesota Twins.
Baltimore got the 2012 season started right with a 4-2 victory over the Twins on Friday, just like the Orioles opened Camden Yards with a 2-0 win over Cleveland back in 1992. The Orioles had winning seasons in five of their first six years at the park - still considered one of the best venues in baseball – but haven't finished above .500 since going 98-64 back in 1997.
"My mindset was to just really set the tone for our team in front of a great crowd," said Orioles starter Jake Arrieta, who allowed two hits in seven innings to earn the win Friday. "There were a lot of excited fans for a new season, so it was important to come out and set the tone the way we did. As a whole, we take it personal that most people write us off from the get-go. We made a statement today: We've got a lot to play for this year."
Nick Markakis went 2 for 3 with a triple, home run and three RBIs for Baltimore. He also scored two of the team's four runs while former Twins shortstop J.J. Hardy scored the other two.
"When you have a guy like Jake on the mound and he throws the way he did (Friday), just score some runs for him," Markakis said. "He set the tone. It starts with pitching."
Minnesota's oft-injured stars Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau played together in the same game for the first time since Aug. 23, but combined to go a lackluster 1 for 6 with two walks.
Morneau played only 69 games last season while Mauer appeared in 82 games for the Twins, who stumbled to a 63-99 record after winning the AL Central in 2009 and 2010.
"It is not the way you wanted to start the season, not individually or as a team," said Minnesota starter Carl Pavano, who lost on Opening Day for the second straight year. "You have to tip your hats to them — they took advantage of what was given them. I walked two guys and they both scored."
The Twins hope for better luck Saturday against Baltimore starter Tommy Hunter. The right-hander went 3-3 with a 5.06 ERA for the Orioles last season after coming over from Texas at the trade deadline.
Francisco Liriano makes his first start for Minnesota, looking to put an inconsistent 2011 behind him. Liriano threw a no-hitter against the White Sox last May but otherwise was up-and-down, finishing the year 9-10 with a 5.09 ERA.
The left-hander is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA in four career starts against Baltimore.