Twins top Orioles after 3rd-inning outburst
MINNEAPOLIS -- All season the Minnesota Twins have relied on big hits from their third baseman, and he came through again.
No, it wasn't Miguel Sano this time.
With Joe Mauer out for the second straight game with back spasms and Sano playing first base, Eduardo Escobar highlighted a six-run third inning with a two-run triple as the Twins beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-4.
Escobar is now hitting .371 since June 4 and .431 in his last 13 home games, compelling the Twins to find a way to get his bat in the lineup.
"The regular playing time, for various reasons he's taken advantage," said Twins manager Paul Molitor, "and he's been a big contributor offensively for us."
Escobar's triple followed an RBI single from Sano and a two-run single from Max Kepler and gave the Twins a 5-2 lead after they had fallen behind in the second inning on Mark Trumbo's two-run homer.
The line drive from Escobar caromed off the corner of the right-field scoreboard and bounced away from Seth Smith, bringing the crowd to its feet as Escobar chugged for third.
"If I would have known I hit the ball that well to where it got away from him, of course it would have been an inside-the-park home run," Escobar said through a translator.
Jorge Polanco capped the big inning with an RBI groundout off starter Dylan Bundy (8-8), whose six runs allowed tied his season high.
Jose Berrios (8-2) gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings. Tyler Duffey, Taylor Rogers and Brandon Kintzler each pitched a scoreless inning with Kintzler getting his 23rd save.
Berrios worked with men on base most of the night but limited the damage nicely after Trumbo's homer. The Orioles slugger was up again in the third with the bases loaded but grounded out to short to end the inning.
Baltimore also had the bases loaded in the seventh against Duffey, but Trey Mancini grounded out to short, stranding three of the Orioles' 10 men left on base in the game.
Mancini made a mistake in the Twins' six-run inning when he tried to force Byron Buxton out at second base instead of taking the easy out at first. The miscue loaded the bases with the 3-4-5 hitters coming up.
"It's just a poor decision on our part," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Just go to first base and take the out."
With the loss, Baltimore dropped to a season-worst five games below .500. They've lost five straight against Minnesota and four straight overall.
"We've been playing lousy, and no one's going to give you any room to breathe," said Trumbo, "so we better get with the program."
Orioles: Baltimore called up 2B Johnny Giavotella from Triple-A Norfolk before Thursday's game, sending down LHP Jayson Aquino in the process.
Twins: RHP Alan Busenitz was sent down after the game to make room for Friday's starter RHP Felix Jorge.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET
When the Orioles saw the Twins at Camden Yards on May 22, they were 25-17 and just 0.5 games out of first place in the A.L. East. Minnesota went on to sweep the three-game series, and Baltimore has been plunging since. The Orioles are 15-28 in their last 43 games and are now 8.5 games back in the division.
Orioles: RHP Chris Tillman, currently on the paternity list, will report back to the team Friday. Showalter did not commit to Tillman as Saturday's starting pitcher.
Twins: Molitor said before the game that Mauer (back spasms) may not play again before the All-Star Break and did not rule out a stint on the disabled list. ... LHP Hector Santiago received an MRI that showed inflammation after being placed on the 10-day disabled list with upper thoracic back pain. Molitor said Santiago would wait until after the All-Star Break to start throwing again.
Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman (5-7) will take the mound Friday night for Baltimore, currently on a streak of 13 consecutive scoreless innings.
Twins: Jorge (1-0) makes his second career start after winning his debut Saturday in Kansas City, allowing three runs in five innings.