On the night that struggling right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez pitched well, those that followed him to the mound in Minnesota could not say the same. The Twins scored four times in the seventh to break a 2-2 tie and beat the Orioles 6-2 at Target Field.
The Orioles fall to 58-43 with three straight losses that have followed a five-game winning streak. They were trying for a season sweep of the Twins, but must settle for a 5-1 mark.
Pitching for the first time since July 8, Jimenez was shaky in a 33-pitch first inning, but allowed just one run and five hits over five innings and 104 pitches. It was just the third time in 18 starts that he allowed one or zero runs. He got a no-decision.
The Twins broke the 2-2 tie in the seventh against Odrisamer Despaigne and Chaz Roe scoring four times on four hits. Brian Dozier and Max Kepler had RBI singles and Eddie Rosario a two-run triple off Roe. The Twins went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position off Jimenez, but went 3-for-5 with RISP in that inning.
The Orioles had taken a 1-0 lead on the first pitch of the game. Adam Jones homered on a 92 mph fastball from Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson. He hit No. 19 and it was his third career leadoff home run. But Minnesota evened the score 1-1 in their half of the first. Robbie Grossman singled with one out and came around on Joe Mauer’s triple to right.
In the fourth inning, the O’s scored once but had two runners cut down at the plate, one on a grounder and one from the outfield. They did take a 2-1 lead on J.J. Hardy’s single. The Twins tied it 2-2 in the sixth when Despaigne replaced Jimenez. The first batter he faced, Kepler, homered on a 2-2 slider. It was homer No. 11 for Kepler.
Despaigne took the loss and was charged with five hits and four runs in 1 1/3 innings. The Twins went 5-for-8 against him. The Orioles bullpen had pitched to an ERA of 0.87 over the previous seven games.
The Orioles offense has produced just nine runs the last four games and just 38 in 14 games since the All-Star break. The Orioles have scored three or fewer runs in nine of their last 13 games.
Now the Orioles move onto Toronto, where on Friday they will play their third game in three nights in three different cities. Kevin Gausman (2-7, 3.77 ERA) pitches against the Blue Jays’ Marco Estrada (5-4, 2.94) in the opener of the weekend series.