The Orioles got five innings out of Zach Britton tonight. Now it's up to the bullpen.
Britton allowed one run and six hits, with four walks and four strikeouts. He threw 98 pitches, 57 for strikes.
That's a lot of baserunners and pitches over five innings, but he was a master at damage control.
We'll find out later whether Britton's pitch count was the deciding factor in manager Buck Showalter removing him from the game, or if there's a health issue.
Chris Jakubauskas tossed a perfect sixth inning, striking out one batter. Before tonight, he had allowed two earned runs in his last nine appearances spanning 16 2/3 innings. He's on a nice roll.
The Orioles gave him an insurance run in the seventh to increase their lead to 4-1. J.J. Hardy walked with one out and scored on Nick Markakis' double to left-center field, on a ball that Ben Revere appeared to misjudge.
Revere made up for his mistake by making an incredible leaping catch at the fence with his back to the field to rob Vladimir Guerrero of an RBI.
Jim Hunter catches up with Buck Showalter following the Birds' 4-1 win over the Twins
Update: Michael Gonzalez struck out all four batters he faced. He hasn't allowed a run in his last 11 appearances. But Showalter called upon his closer, Kevin Gregg, in the bottom of the ninth with the Orioles protecting a 4-1 lead.
Gregg had allowed eight runs (seven earned) in his last four appearances covering only two innings, but he retired the side in order tonight for his 18th save.
You can exhale now.
Update II: The Orioles optioned infielder Blake Davis to Triple-A Norfolk after the game. They'll announce a corresponding move tomorrow.
Davis hit .254 with three doubles, one triple, one homer and six RBIs in 25 games.
I'm surprised by this move, considering that Robert Andino figures to play third base while Mark Reynolds is starting at first. Davis was the backup middle infielder.
Cesar Izturis was supposed to begin baseball activities today in Sarasota. Could he be ready to come off the disabled list this soon? Perhaps the Orioles will bring up a first baseman and allow Reynolds to move back to third.