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Twins bats fall silent once again

Minnesota Twins' Luke Hughes, right, is tagged out by Baltimore Orioles pitcher pitcher Alfredo Simon during a rundown between third and home Tuesday in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Jim Mone

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Alfredo Simon allowed one run and three hits in a career-high eight innings, and Vladimir Guerrero and Mark Reynolds both had three hits as the Baltimore Orioles beat the Minnesota Twins 8-1 on Tuesday night.

Nolan Reimold added a three-run homer for Baltimore. Simon (4-6) won for the first time in four starts. He struck out a career-high eight.

Minnesota starter Brian Duensing (8-13) was out after just four batters in the third inning as his struggles continued. He gave up seven runs and nine hits while losing his fifth straight game.

Danny Valencia had a solo home run for the Twins, who have lost five of six games on the current homestand.

Tuesday's performance will help Simon stake a claim to a permanent spot in the Orioles' rotation.

The right-hander has shuffled between the rotation and bullpen during his four seasons with Baltimore. Simon saved 17 games for the Orioles last season and was in the bullpen when he joined the team in May.

Manager Buck Showalter put him into the starting rotation on July 9 and the decision has been met with inconsistency. Tuesday was more reminiscent of Simon's first five starts than his last three.

Simon allowed three runs or less in his first five starts, compiling a 3.26 ERA. However, he had allowed 13 runs in 15 2-3 innings in his last three turns.

He didn't have any trouble against the punchless Twins.

Simon retired 16 of the final 17 batters he faced and didn't give up a hit after Luke Hughes' double in the third inning.

After going 63 games without holding an opponent to one run or less, Baltimore's pitching has held Minnesota to two runs in the series with Simon's domination following Zach Britton's 4-1 win in the series opener on Monday.

Duensing was never the same after trying to field a ball hit by Guerrero with his bare hand. Duensing knocked the ball down, but tried to throw to first to record the out and threw wildly straight into ground allowing Guerrero to go to second.

The next pitch was a wild pitch with Guerrero advancing to third. Matt Wieters then doubled and Reynolds singled on hard-hit balls. Following a pop-up, Reimold connected for his eighth homer of the season.

Reynolds hit a two-run triple the following inning, and Duensing was done after Robert Andino's singled scored Reynolds.

Duensing equaled his shortest start of the season and is winless in August. He's allowed 25 earned runs in 26 innings in August and has given up at least eight hits in each of his five starts.

NOTES: RHP Lester Oliveros made his debut for the Twins, relieving Duensing. Oliveros, acquired from Detroit in the trade that sent OF Delmon Young to the Tigers, pitched two innings and gave up one run and two hits. ... Guthrie (5-16) will start Wednesday against the Twins. The right-hander has lost two straight decisions.