Twins hit five more home runs to claim series over Orioles
MINNEAPOLIS — Baltimore’s pitching staff kept the Minnesota Twins in the ballpark — for five innings. Then it was back to normal for the Orioles.
Minnesota hit five home runs for the second straight day, including a pair by Max Kepler in a 9-2 rout of the Orioles on Saturday.
C.J. Cron, Jason Castro and Marwin González also homered for the Twins, who have 21 home runs against the Orioles this year while going 5-0. Minnesota’s high for homers in a season against Baltimore is 22 in 1962 and 1964.
Baltimore has given up 69 homers in 28 games, a pace that projects to 399 for the season. St. Louis is second in home runs allowed with 51.
Cron’s two-run homer on a full-count put the Twins up 3-2 in the sixth.
“We just had a really bad pitch with two bases open and two switch-hitters on deck that turned the tide of the game,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “It’s just stuff these guys are going to have to be able to learn — to navigate through a lineup and understand who’s on deck and who can hurt me and who can’t.”
Cron battled through an eight-pitch at-bat before connecting on a slider for his fifth home run.
“I think I missed a few pitches I probably should have hit earlier in the count,” Cron said. “But, it was good to see what he had kind of, and the longer the at-bat drew out, the better I felt up there. Just a good pitch to hit and thankfully I put a good swing on it.”
Kepler had four RBIs to help back José Berríos (4-1), who allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings with eight strikeouts and no walks. Trevor May pitched a perfect seventh, Taylor Rogers struck out the side in a one-hit eighth, and Adelberto Mejia pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.
“I think we have a nice balance of different types of hitters in our lineup that are seemingly complementing each other really well right now,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “There’s no guarantees that anything like this, or anything similar to it, is going to last, anyway. But, when you do have runs like this, it’s nice and you appreciate them as you see them.”
Paul Fry (0-1) lost in relief of Dan Straily, who lowered his ERA from 8.59 to 6.75 by allowing an unearned run and three hits in four innings.
Kepler hit a sacrifice fly in the third, but Baltimore built a 2-1 lead on RBI singles by Rio Ruiz in the fourth and Hanser Alberto in the fifth.
Kepler had a two-run drive off Tanner Scott in the seventh. Jimmy Yacabonis gave up three home runs in the eighth.
González stopped an 0-for-19 skid with his second home run this season, a solo drive. Jason Castro added a two-run homer in the eighth and Kepler connected two pitches later.
In Friday’s series-opening 6-1 win, Nelson Cruz, Eddie Rosario and Cron hit consecutive homers.
Orioles: RF Trey Mancini, who leads the AL in hits, left for a pinch runner in the first inning after hitting a bloop single to shallow right-center. Earlier in the at-bat, he hit a ball off his finger. “I definitely lucked out there,” Mancini said. “I hit it straight off my finger — it didn’t get bat at all. That’s why I kind of tried to play it off a little bit, because I knew if I gave them time to review it, it’s a strikeout right there, so I just tried to stay up there and one-arm something. I knew I was going to have to come out of the game after that. But yeah, luckily nothing is broken or anything like that, so that’s good news.”
Twins: RF Willians Astudillo is expected to be placed on the injured list with left hamstring tightness, the team said. Astudillo was removed with left hamstring tightness after scoring on Kepler’s fly. “When I tagged from third base, halfway through the third base line I kind of pulled it a little bit,” Astudillo said through a translator. … CF Byron Buxton was not in the starting lineup after fouling a ball off his left leg Friday night. He entered as a defensive replacement to start the eighth, then walked in the bottom half and stole second.
Orioles: RHP Dylan Bundy (0-3, 6.56 ERA) starts the series finale on Sunday. He has allowed 25 hits and 10 walks in 23 1/3 innings.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (1-0, 6.10 ERA) picked up his first victory in his last start, also against Baltimore, allowing two runs in six innings. He did not walk a batter, after walking eight in his first three starts.