Just two days after losing 3-2 on a game-winning home run by Adam Jones in the 11th inning, Minnesota breezed past the Orioles 6-2 on a chilly night at Camden Yards. The Twins will turn to Jose Berrios, who went 14-8 last year, to leave Baltimore on a positive note.
Minnesota manager manager Paul Molitor said optimism is riding high with the team’s revamped lineup and pitching staff. Berrios has enjoyed some success in his young career against Baltimore, going 2-0 with a 4.67 ERA in three career starts.
“I can tell that the guys are excited to get going and see what lies ahead for us throughout the next six months,” Molitor said. “It’s think it would be awfully fun to be part of that clubhouse right now.”
The Twins’ bats came alive against Baltimore starter Andrew Cashner, who was making his Orioles debut after being signed as a free agent from Texas in the offseason. Cashner allowed six hits and five runs over just five innings. Cashner also surrendered three homers, one shy of his career-high.
“It’s frustrating. It’s a small park,” Cashner said. “A few of those balls, if they go a couple of inches in or away, it’s an out. But it just comes down to making better pitches. I was surprised my sinkers didn’t run more.”
Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman, who is a notorious slow starter, will take the mound Sunday. He is 2-3 with a 5.88 ERA in 15 career appearances in the month of April. Gausman is also 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in five career starts against the Twins.
Baltimore’s bats were quiet Saturday night and did not get a hit against Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson through six innings. Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop broke up the no-hitter when he managed a single up the middle against reliever Ryan Pressly.
“He made a change in his approach a little bit, some things that he did when he went down last year and came back, and it really helped him in the second half and carried over in the spring,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said about Gibson. “Changeup, sharp breaking ball, some ride on the fastball. He had all three pitches there and really he kind of changed the tilt a little bit on his breaking ball now and then.
“He had everything working. He had all the pitches in the hitter’s mind, so you had to honor all of them. You could see early on, especially as cool as it is, especially being able to pitch on the inner half a lot.”
Orioles first baseman Chris Davis batted leadoff for the second straight game and went 0-for-5. He is 0-for-9 so far and could move down in the lineup Sunday for the finale.
Baltimore did get some good new with left-handed reliever Zach Britton, who ran Friday for the first time since undergoing surgery on his right Achilles tendon. Designated hitter Mark Trumbo, who is out with a quad strain, is also on schedule to take batting practice Monday. If there are not setbacks, he could appear in a spring training game on April 6.
Minnesota right-handed Phil Hughes, who is on the disabled with a left oblique strain, is also making progress. He pitched four innings Saturday in a Triple-A spring training game. Hughes could pitch again for Single-A Fort Myers on April 5.