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Baseball reflects on HOF pair Weaver, Musial

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Baseball reflects on HOF pair Weaver, Musial

One was born in St. Louis, the other became a star there.

Aside from that, Earl Weaver and Stan Musial were about as different as two Hall of Famers could be.

``Talk about your odd couple,'' said George Vecsey, the longtime sports columnist for The New York Times who wrote a recent biography of Musial.

Weaver was a 5-foot-6 rabble rouser whose penchant for quarreling with umpires belied a cerebral approach to managing that has stood the test of time. Musial was a humble slugger with a funky batting stance who was beloved by Cardinals fans and respected by pretty much everyone else.

Saturday began with news of Weaver's death at age 82, and by the end of the night Musial had died, too, leaving baseball to reflect on two distinguished careers rich in contrasts.

``Earl was well known for being one of the game's most colorful characters with a memorable wit, but he was also amongst its most loyal,'' Commissioner Bud Selig said.

Selig later released a statement after Musial's death at age 92.

``Stan's life embodies baseball's unparalleled history and why this game is the national pastime. As remarkable as `Stan the Man' was on the field, he was a true gentleman in life,'' Selig said.

A three-time MVP and seven-time National League batting champion, Musial helped the Cardinals win three World Series championships in the 1940s. His popularity in St. Louis can be measured by the not one, but two statues that stand in his honor outside Busch Stadium. After his death Saturday, Cardinals of more recent vintage began offering condolences almost immediately.

``Sad to hear about Stan the Man, it's an honor to wear the same uniform,'' said a message posted on the Twitter account of Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday.

Albert Pujols, who led St. Louis to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011 before leaving as a free agent before last season, offered prayers for Musial's family via Twitter.

``I will cherish my friendship with Stan for as long as I live,'' said a message posted on Pujols' site. ``Rest in Peace.''

Weaver was born in St. Louis, but his greatest success came as a manager in Baltimore. He took the Orioles to the World Series four times, winning one title in 1970.

Never a fan of small-ball strategies like bunting and stealing bases, Weaver preferred to wait for a three-run homer, always hoping for a big inning that could break the game open.

``No one managed a ballclub or pitching staff better than Earl,'' said Davey Johnson, who played under Weaver with the Orioles.

Johnson now manages the Washington Nationals and ran the Orioles from 1996-97.

``He was decades ahead of his time,'' Johnson said. ``Not a game goes by that I don't draw on something Earl did or said. I will miss him every day.''

While Musial could let his bat do the talking, Weaver was more than willing to shout to be heard. His salty-tongued arguing with umpires will live on through YouTube, and Orioles programs sold at the old Memorial Stadium frequently featured photos of Weaver squabbling.

Former umpire Don Denkinger remembered a game in which the manager disputed a call with Larry McCoy at the plate.

``Earl tells us, `Now I'm gonna show you how stupid you all are.' Earl goes down to first base and ejects the first base umpire. Then he goes to second base and ejects the second base umpire. I'm working third base and now he comes down and ejects me,'' Denkinger said.

Musial was a quieter type who spent his career far removed from the bright lights of places like New York and Boston. But his hitting exploits were certainly on par with contemporaries Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams.

``I knew Stan very well. He used to take care of me at All-Star games, 24 of them,'' Hall of Famer Willie Mays said. ``He was a true gentleman who understood the race thing and did all he could. Again, a true gentleman on and off the field - I never heard anybody say a bad word about him, ever.''

Dave Anderson of The New York Times recalled growing up in Brooklyn, rooting for Musial. Those Dodgers crowds helped give Musial his nickname, Stan the Man.

``I thought he was going to knock the fence down in Brooklyn, he'd hit it so often,'' Anderson said.

Musial did it despite an odd left-handed stance - with his legs and knees close together, he would cock the bat near his ear and twist his body away from the pitcher before uncoiling when the ball came.

If that was a lasting snapshot of Musial, the images of Weaver will stay just as fresh - the feisty manager, perhaps with his hat turned backward, looking up at an umpire and screaming at him before kicking dirt somewhere and finally leaving the field.

None of those histrionics should obscure the fact that in the end, Weaver often had the last laugh - to the tune of a .583 career winning percentage.

``When you discuss our game's motivational masters, Earl is a part of that conversation,'' Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson said. ``He was a proven leader in the dugout and loved being a Hall of Famer. Though small in stature, he was a giant as a manager.''

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Twins double up Orioles Monday night after erasing Baltimore's early lead

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USA Today Sports

Twins double up Orioles Monday night after erasing Baltimore's early lead

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Max Kepler homered and drove in four runs, Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco each had a career-high four hits and the Minnesota Twins roared back to beat the Baltimore Orioles 14-7 Monday night.

Minnesota trailed 5-0 in the second inning and 6-2 entering the fifth before cranking up the offense against Ubaldo Jimenez and an ineffective Baltimore bullpen.

A two-run double by Kepler helped the Twins knot the score in the fifth, Minnesota sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run sixth and Sano added a two-run homer in the ninth.

Joe Mauer had three hits, two RBIs and scored twice for the Twins, who reached season highs in runs and hits (21).

Adam Jones hit a three-run drive in the second inning off Kyle Gibson (1-4) for Baltimore.

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It was his 125th home run at Camden Yards, moving him out of a tie with Rafael Palmeiro for the most in the history of the 26-year-old ballpark.

That proved to be the highlight of an otherwise ugly night for the Orioles.

Jimenez frittered away a five-run lead and missed a chance to earn his first win since April 19. The right-hander allowed six runs and nine hits in four-plus innings, a performance that lifted his ERA to an unsightly 7.17.

Jimenez was replaced by Tyler Wilson (2-2), who gave up six runs in 1 1/3 innings.

Down 5-0, the Twins got an RBI groundout from Mauer in third before Kepler led off the fourth with a home run.

It was 6-2 before Minnesota bunched together five hits in the fifth. After Kepler chased Jimenez with a two-run double, Eduardo Escobar hit a sacrifice fly and Polanco tied it with an RBI single.

Highlights of the Twins' sixth inning included a tiebreaking double by Mauer, a two-run double by Escobar, an error by second baseman Jonathan Schoop and a run-inducing balk when Stefan Crichton dropped the ball in the midst of his windup.

Recalled from Triple-A Rochester before the game, Gibson gave up six runs in five innings, but nevertheless earned his first victory in seven starts this season.

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Orioles return home from rough road trip looking to improve on stellar home record

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Orioles return home from rough road trip looking to improve on stellar home record

The Baltimore Orioles and Minnesota Twins open a three-game series Monday at Camden Yards with both teams sitting at or near the top of their divisions.

The Orioles put a 1-6 road trip behind them by taking two of three games against the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend. The Twins beat the Royals on Friday before splitting a doubleheader on Sunday, which has created some challenges with their starting pitching.

Minnesota will have another tough test against the Orioles, who are 15-4 at Camden Yards this season -- the best home mark in the majors.

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Baltimore, however, had a setback Sunday when third baseman Manny Machado was hit on the hand by a pitch from Toronto reliever Joe Smith in the eighth inning. Machado is expected to have X-rays as a precaution.

"It's always scary for any player," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "There's no fake drama after that like you get sometimes and some places. It was what it was. You're not trying to hit him."

Baltimore also placed utility infielder Ryan Flaherty on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation Sunday. To fill the void, the Orioles recalled infielder Paul Janish from Triple-A Norfolk.

Baltimore right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2, 6.52 ERA) takes the hill in the opener against Minnesota. Jimenez is having another uneven season that has jeopardized his spot in the rotation. He has 29 walks and 23 strikeouts in eight appearances, including seven starts.

Jimenez, however, has been solid against the Twins over his career, going 5-3 with a 2.49 ERA in 11 appearances. The key for Jimenez is to find some consistency and go deeper into the games to take some of the pressure off the bullpen.

"Quite frankly, it seems like it's that way in all of baseball, all around the league," Showalter said. "Getting to the seventh inning is at an all-time low in Major League Baseball history right now. It's tough. (Jimenez) is capable of better."

Twins manager Paul Molitor had held off naming a starter for the series opener against the Orioles until after the second game Sunday against the Royals. Minnesota played two doubleheaders in four days, putting a strain on the pitching staff.

After the nightcap vs. Kansas City, the Twins announced that Phil Hughes, the Game 1 starter and loser, would be placed on 10-day disabled list due to shoulder discomfort. Hughes allowed five runs in four innings and served up three home runs.

Hughes' injury created a roster spot, so the Twins plan to recall Kyle Gibson (0-4, 8.20 ERA) from Triple-A Rochester to start the opener in Baltimore.

"It's very frustrating," Hughes said. "I thought, hopefully, that a lot of this was behind me. So, to have this sprout up again is frustrating. Hopefully, it's a somewhat easy answer and something I can bounce back from."

Hughes was 0-2 despite a 2.92 ERA in two starts for Rochester the past 10 days. He is 1-1 with a 3.58 ERA in five career starts against the Orioles.

Rain is expected in Baltimore on Monday. If there is a postponement, the teams share a mutual off day Thursday.