Derrek Lee dug out another ball in the dirt tonight, sparing Robert Andino a throwing error. Lee crouched and backhanded the ball in a sweeping motion. Sir Smooth.
I asked manager Buck Showalter earlier today if he had a tough decision choosing between Robert Andino and Cesar Izturis. Andino had reached base nine times in his last 10 at-bats. Izturis was 3-for-7 with two RBIs lifetime against Twins starter Nick Blackburn.
“Yes and no,” he replied. “Every day’s a little different. What are those three hits? Are they swinging bunts or flares off broken bats? To base a lineup decision off seven plate appearances is probably not very good, but there will maybe be times where that’s a tie-breaker.
“We like where Robert is. Sometimes with young players, even though Robert is 27 (in five days), you want to kind of build on some things.”
Andino is 0-for-2 tonight.
The Orioles continue to lead the Twins, 5-1, in the sixth inning. Zach Britton has allowed four hits, walked one and struck out two. He threw 62 pitches through the fifth.
I mentioned how Britton finally hit a rough patch in his last outing, when he allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings in Cleveland.
“There are a lot of people who would like to have that type of rough patch, so to speak,” Showalter replied. “It’s an ongoing process. He’s going to step on his tail again and go through things that show you how young and inexperienced he is, but his arm is experienced. We like his chances, and everything is a growing experience for him.
“He’s a guy who’s real comfortable with who he is. He’s not the type of guy who will have a lot of carryover after a good outing or a bad outing.”
He’s having a pretty good outing tonight and he’s getting the kind of offensive support that didn’t exist on the road trip.
Instant update: Two walks in the sixth proceeded Danny Valencia’s two-out, two-run single. Orioles 5, Twins 3.
Britton has thrown 88 pitches through the sixth. Jim Johnson is warming in the bullpen.
And now Johnson is in the game. Britton allows three runs and five hits, with three walks and three strikeouts.