Rookie starter Duffey stymies Orioles as Twins roll to 15-2 victory
BALTIMORE -- Backed by Minnesota's most proficient offensive performance of the season, Tyler Duffey certainly didn't need his best stuff to beat the Baltimore Orioles.
Then again, Duffey was so good that the Twins could have won with only a fraction of those 18 hits.
Duffey took a shutout into the eighth inning, and Minnesota rolled to a 15-2 victory on a soggy Thursday night at Camden Yards.
Kurt Suzuki and Eddie Rosario each had three hits and two RBIs, and Miguel Sano and Eduardo Escobar contributed home runs in helping Minnesota end a three-game skid. It was only the eighth win in 25 games for the Twins, who moved within three games of the Los Angeles Angels for the second AL wild-card slot.
Minnesota's offensive barrage coincided with a shoddy pitching performance by Miguel Gonzalez, who lasted only five innings.
The 15 runs were the most allowed by the Orioles since July 16, 2012, when they gave up 19 to the Twins. Baltimore remained one-half game behind the Angels.
Making his third career start, Duffey (2-1) baffled Baltimore with just enough fastballs to back an effective curveball.
"For the most part it always is my put-away pitch," the right-hander said. "It's just one of those things where if you're swinging, I'm going to keep throwing it."
The Orioles knew it was coming -- and it made no difference.
"He did exactly what we thought he was going to do," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said, "which is a real tribute to him and the quality of his curveball."
Duffey coasted until the eighth, when he allowed two runs before being pulled with two outs.
"It started flattening a little bit toward the end after some of the long innings when he was on the sidelines," manager Paul Molitor said.
Duffey struck out eight, walked none and gave up 10 hits.
The game began at 9:36 p.m. EDT following a rain delay of 2 hours, 31 minutes. After the first inning, the few thousand fans who stuck it out were invited to choose any seat in the park.
Gonzalez (9-9) initially appeared unfazed by the delay, retiring the side in order in the first. But he unraveled in the second.
After Minnesota loaded the bases with no outs, Gonzalez issued a bases-loaded walk to Torii Hunter. Suzuki followed with a two-run single, Escobar hit an RBI double and Brian Dozier capped the onslaught with a run-scoring single for a 5-0 lead.
Sano made it 7-0 in the fifth with his 10th home run following a single by Joe Mauer.
Gonzalez gave up seven runs, the most he's allowed in a game since April 4, 2014. The right-hander has yielded 22 earned runs in 25 1-3 innings over his last five starts.
"That tells you that this game isn't easy, and it'll humble you for sure," Gonzalez said. "No matter how good you are, you are going to go through some tough times."
Duffey was in New York on Monday when Yankees RHP Bryan Mitchell took a line drive to the face. On Thursday, he said he felt "fortunate" to escape a similar fate by catching Adam Jones' liner in the fourth inning.
His manager agreed.
"We saw the ugly the other night," Molitor said. "You can kind of laugh when it happens when you make the catch, but we all know there's peril there."