Hardy with a grand slam, Flaherty with a three-run shot as O’s top Twins

The Orioles have not lost this year when they have hit three or more homers in a game. Today, they produced eight runs on three swings in a 12-8 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

The Orioles have taken the first three games of this series that ends here tomorrow. Now at 79-56, they are a season-high 23 games over .500 and have opened a nine-game lead over the Yankees atop the American League East.

hardy hit white sidebar.jpgThe game featured a grand slam by J.J. Hardy, a three-run shot by Ryan Flaherty and a solo blast by Nelson Cruz.

The Orioles are 20-0 when they hit three or more homers in a game and 41-10 when they have a multi-homer game.

After leaving five runners on in the first two innings, the O’s scored four in the third. Cruz’s 35th homer on a 1-0 slider from Ricky Nolasco made it 1-0. With two outs and two on, Flaherty hit a three-run homer to right for a 4-0 lead. It was No. 6 on for Flaherty, who was making his first start since Aug. 16.

The Orioles blew the game open with a seven-run sixth, which is their biggest inning of the year. That inning featured an Adam Jones two-run double, a Caleb Joseph RBI single and Hardy’s slam.

It is the fourth-career grand slam for Hardy, his first since May 15, 2011, the Orioles’ sixth of the year and their second of this series.

The Orioles have scored 43 runs in going 6-1 on this homestand. They are 21-6 at home since June 30.

Winning pitcher Wei-Yin Chen got knocked out during Minnesota’s three-run seventh. He went 6 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits and four runs. He is now 14-4 with an ERA of 3.83. The Orioles are 17-9 when Chen starts.

The O’s won for the 10th time in 14 games to improve to 40-27 at home, 4-2 against the Twins and 16-16 versus the AL Central.

The Orioles went 19-9 in August.

In the series finale on Monday afternoon, Kevin Gausman (7-6, 3.84 ERA) faces right-hander Phil Hughes (14-9, 3.70 ERA).

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