Twins get two homers in sixth off Bud Norris to beat O’s, complete sweep

The Orioles again struggled to score. Their starting pitching kept the other team from doing so, but Ubaldo Jimenez’s pitch count elevated quickly. And with two big swings in the last of the sixth today, the Minnesota Twins surged to a victory.

Brian Dozier hit a two-run homer off struggling right-hander Bud Norris and Joe Mauer followed with a solo shot as the Twins beat the Orioles 5-3 to complete their first three-game sweep of the Orioles in Minnesota since April 2-4, 2007.

norris-hands-on-head-gray-sidebar.jpgThe slumping Orioles fall to 43-42 and have lost six of seven and eight of their last 10 games. They completed a 1-5 road trip and were outscored 17-8 by Minnesota.

Jimenez kept pitching out of jams through the first five innings during which he allowed seven hits, but held Minnesota to 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. He left with a 1-0 lead, throwing 110 pitches. The Twins went 0-for-8 against him with RISP over the first three innings.

In his last three starts Jimenez has allowed just one run over 20 innings, reducing his ERA from 3.40 to 2.81.

Norris came on to start the last of the sixth. He did not allow a hit in 2 2/3 in his first relief outing, but this one didn’t go as well. Dozier got a 96 mph fastball over the inside corner and hit it out on a 2-2 pitch for his 18th homer. Mauer followed with No. 6 to left field on a 3-2 slider.

Down 5-1 in the eighth, Manny Machado and Chris Davis hit back-to-back solo homers off Casey Fien. It was No. 19 for both. Machado adds to his new career-high and has hit 13 homers his last 37 games. The O’s first run came when J.J. Hardy bounced into a double play with runners on first and third in the fourth.

But the Orioles once again did not get a single hit with a runner in scoring position - going 0-for-4 - and they are now 5-for-54 (.093) with RISP over the past eight games. The Orioles have scored 11 runs in their last six losses.

Now the Orioles head home to host the Washington Nationals for three games beginning Friday night at Camden Yards in the last series before the All-Star break.

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