The Orioles signed Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz to contracts totaling $58 million dollars before the season and tonight those players made that look like a good investment.
Jimenez had a strong game on the mound to pick up his first Orioles win and Cruz crushed a long two-run homer as the Orioles beat the Minnesota Twins 3-0 to open a three-game series.
Jimenez was sharp from the start with his split-finger fastball and all his pitches looked to be working. He had five strikeouts over the first three innings when the Twins had some chances, but went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position against him.
Jimenez went 7 1/3 innings, allowing just three hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts. He threw 118 pitches, 76 for strikes. He is now 1-4 with an ERA of 5.19. The 10 strikeouts is an O's season-best.
Jimenez began today with an ERA of 6.59, no quality starts, a .300 opponents' batting average and a WHIP of 1.829.
Zach Britton and Tommy Hunter came on after Jimenez. Hunter got his eighth save as the trio teamed on a four-hit shutout, the Orioles' second of the season.
The Orioles broke the scoreless tie in the top of the fourth. Cruz and Matt Wieters doubled for a 1-0 lead off Ricky Nolasco who pitched a complete game, but lost. Wieters went 2-for-3 tonight and this was his sixth multi-hit game over his last seven contests. In that stretch, he is 13-for-31 (.419) with three doubles, two homers and eight RBIs.
Two innings later, Manny Machado singled to deep left for his first hit of the season. He scored when Cruz hit a two-run shot off the third deck in left. The 424-foot blast made it 3-0.
Over his last 13 games, Cruz is 18-for-53 (.340) with six homers and 20 RBIs. On the year, Cruz has eight homers and 27 RBIs.
With a three-game winning streak, the Orioles are 15-12 and a season-high three games over .500. They've won six of their last eight, 10 of 15 games and are 8-6 on the road.
The Orioles are 15-7 since 2011 against the Twins and have won nine of their past 12 games at Minnesota.
In the second game of this series, on Saturday afternoon at 2:10 p.m., Wei-Yin Chen (3-1, 4.34 ERA) faces Kevin Correia (0-3, 7.33 ERA).