Written by Chris Slade
The game got under way at 2:05 ET today with Miguel Gonzalez (1-2, 5.19 ERA) and Phil Hughes (2-1, 5.14 ERA) on the mound. The Twins jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 1st inning on a two-run double by Trevor Plouffe. They got their third run in the 5th when Gonzalez walked Kurt Suzuki with the bases loaded. A Nelson Cruz two-run bomb cut the lead to one but the Twins pulled away for good with a two-run double by Suzuki (who was on fire today) and held on for the win.
Miguel Gonzalez got himself in an early hole and labored through each inning he pitched. But, this outing could have gone much worse if not for several key strikeouts. Gonzo was nibbling early and often today which got him into trouble against this patient Twins lineup. The Twins, who lead the majors in team walk %, were able to draw four walks against Gonzalez and run up his pitch count into the 90's by the 5th inning. However, Gonzo's nibbling did allow him to notch seven strikeouts as he had a nice curveball and splitter working today that caused several swing and misses. Ultimately, it was a mediocre outing for Gonzalez as he had to be removed with two outs in the 5th after walking in the third run. He took his third loss of the season.
Final Line: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 7 K, Loss
"The General" Troy Patton graced us with his presence for one batter in the 5th, retiring Sam Fuld to end the inning.
Brian Matusz walked a batter but otherwise pitched a scoreless 6th inning.
Ryan Webb got into some trouble in the 7th as he recorded just one out and was charged with two earned runs on Kurt Suzuki's double. He had bad fastball command and fell behind 1-0 to each hitter he faced.
Zach Britton worked out of the 7th inning and recorded the first two outs in the 8th before Buck called for Brad Brach, who struck out Chris Colabello to end the inning.
Phil Hughes stymied the Oriole bats today through the first five innings, retiring 14 straight at one point. Hughes actually has a real solid track record against the Oriole batters. Seven Oriole hitters in today's lineup have at lest ten at bats against Hughes, four of which carried a sub-.219 batting average against him.
Nelson Cruz finally broke the scoreless inning stretch with his second two-run blast of the series in the 6th inning which scored Manny Machado. Cruz finished 1-for-4 on the day while Manny had a pair of singles.
Delmon Young went 2-for-4 in the DH spot with two singles.
The Orioles loaded the bases in the 7th but weren't able to tie the game up as Steve Pearce popped out and Nick Markakis gorunded out to the pitcher.
Defensive Highlights/ Lowlights
The Orioles had an error free game in the day today. However, the double by Suzuki in the 7th was just out of Nelson Cruz's reach and is probably caught by someone with a little more range and athleticism like David Lough. So, the UZR championers won their argument today with that example, as it cost the Orioles two runs.
Key Moments In The Game
The Twins getting an early lead on Miguel Gonzalez and giving him a fit with their relentlessly patient approach up and down the order.
Other Notes/ Musings
Miguel Gonzalez had an extra day of rest going into this start which usually plays to his favor but it didn't today.
Nelson Cruz now has nine bombs in his first 29 games, the same total in the same amount of games Chris Davis had last season. Draw your own conclusions.
I miss being in 1st place for all of like 12 hours. With the series loss to Minnesota, the Orioles need to regroup with the off day tomorrow and prepare to (hopefully) reclaim the lead with a series win in Tampa.
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