Twins rally past Orioles on Byron Buxton’s ninth-inning homer
Luis Arraez started the inning with a single off Baltimore closer Jorge Lopez
Luis Arraez hit a leadoff single in the ninth inning, and Byron Buxton followed with his 21st home run of the season as the Twins rallied past Baltimore, 3-2, on Friday night in front of 25,540 at Target Field.
Arraez singled to right field off Orioles closer Jorge Lopez, and Buxton drove a pitch into the left field bleachers as the Twins snapped a two-game losing streak.
Buxton’s blast saved the Twins’ beleaguered bullpen from another loss. Left-hander Caleb Thielbar had relieved starter Joe Ryan with the game tied 1-1 in the eighth and surrendered a run.
Minnesota’s bullpen was 0-4 with six blown saves in the Twins’ previous five losses, but this time it did just enough to give the team a chance in the ninth inning. Juan Minaya, called up from Triple-A St. Paul before the game, pitched 1⅓ scoreless innings for his first victory.
Lopez (3-4) took the loss and blown save, his third in 16 save opportunities.
After holding the Orioles to one run on two hits and a walk over seven innings, Ryan went to the dugout with the game tied 1-1 and the middle of the Twins order due up.
Orioles reliever Cionel Perez retired Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco and Jose Miranda 1-2-3, and Thielbar gave up a double to Ryan McKenna on his first pitch. McKenna moved to third on a groundout to second and scored from third on a grounder to second.
Minnesota loaded the bases with one out in the first inning but managed just one run. Arraez started the game with a double and after Buxton struck out and moved to third on a single by Carlos Correa.
Kepler walked to load the bases, and Miranda followed with a single to left that scored Arraez for a 1-0 lead. Correa, trying to score from second on the play, was cut down at the plate after McKenna wired a perfect throw to catcher Adley Rutschman to end the inning.
The Orioles tied the game 1-1 in the third inning when shortstop Jorge Mateo drew a two-out walk and scored on a double by center fielder Cedric Mullins.
From there, the starters took complete control.
Baltimore right-hander Spenser Watkins retired the Twins’ next 15 batters, and Perez made it 18 straight with a 1-2-3 seventh. He was charged with one run on three hits and a walk and struck out five.
Twins right-hander Ryan, meanwhile, was cruising.
After allowing the third inning run, he retired 13 of the Orioles’ next 14 batters – surrendering only Ryan Mountcastle’s one-out double in the fourth – and fanned five of the last six he faced. Ryan left after seven innings, tagged for just one run on two hits and a walk. He fanned seven.
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