MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have relied on Bobby Wilson for much of this season to provide a steady presence behind the dish and work with their young pitchers. On Saturday, the 35-year-old Wilson provided some much-needed support with his bat, too.Wilson smashed a go-ahead two-run double in the sixth inning
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have relied on Bobby Wilson for much of this season to provide a steady presence behind the dish and work with their young pitchers. On Saturday, the 35-year-old Wilson provided some much-needed support with his bat, too.
Wilson smashed a go-ahead two-run double in the sixth inning to push the Twins to a 5-4 win over the Orioles at Target Field. He finished the day 2-for-3 with three RBIs while registering his first multihit game since Sept. 21, 2016, for the Rays.
"Of course it feels good," Wilson said. "It feels good to contribute offensively. It's nice to do something offensively. I feel like I've been doing everything I can defensively. It's time to start turning that corner and start contributing offensively as well."
The win was Minnesota's third straight. Prior to Saturday, the Twins had not strung together three consecutive wins since they topped the White Sox on June 5.
Twins starter Kyle Gibson's afternoon didn't begin in ideal fashion, but the Twins righty bounced back to deliver seven strong innings. Gibson struck out nine batters and generated 23 swinging strikes, including 11 with his slider and seven with his curveball.
"I feel like the curveball just changed a lot of things for me," Gibson said. "We tried to make a point of using it today because these guys are really good on fastball-slider combinations. When I'm able to throw that curveball for strikes and start it in similar locations as a slider, then they complement each other pretty well."
But before Gibson settled in, Baltimore jumped on him for three runs in the first inning. He nearly escaped the frame trailing just 1-0, but surrendered a two-out homer to Chris Davis that put the Twins in an early hole.
"Unfortunately, I made one tough pitch there in the first inning to Davis and threw him the 1-1 changeup he was looking for," Gibson said. "Came out a little bit hot and just not quite the location I wanted it in. But man, the offense did a great job."
Minnesota's bats came to life in the fifth when Max Kepler blasted a solo homer -- his second long ball in as many days -- to put the Twins on the board. Robbie Grossman followed with a double, and then Jake Cave and Wilson, Minnesota's No. 8 and 9 hitters, each singled.
With the bases loaded, Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman bounced a splitter that skipped to the backstop and allowed Cave to score from third, cutting Baltimore's lead to 3-2.
The Twins loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth, but nearly squandered the scoring chance when Grossman and Cave each grounded into a fielder's choice early in the count. Then, Wilson stepped to the plate and delivered his big hit to left field to clear the bases. Cave came sprinting home from first on the play with hopes of tacking on Minnesota's third run of the inning, but he was nabbed at home on a quick relay throw by Manny Machado.
Wilson is now hitting .134 in 82 at-bats on the season. When he steps to the plate with a runner on second or third, though, he has been a noticeably better hitter. He is batting .227 on the year with runners in scoring position.
"We don't expect a ton, and we know that," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "I think what you want to do with a guy like Bobby is situationally, hopefully he can execute, whether it's when I ask him to hit and run ... He's done a pretty good job of getting guys in from third, something our team has kind of struggled with."
The duo of Trevor Hildenberger and Fernando Rodney came on to throw an inning apiece in relief of Gibson to close out the game. Rodney surrendered an RBI double to Jace Peterson that cut the Baltimore deficit to one run, but then got Timothy Beckham to ground out to short and end the game. Rodney picked up his 19th save of the season.
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In the top of the third, Adam Jones ripped a 1-2 slider from Gibson to deep center field and appeared to be headed for extra bases. But Cave tracked back and made a full-extension diving catch to take the hit away from Jones and record the second out of the inning.
In the second inning, Orioles left fielder Peterson dragged a bunt down the third-base line and tried to leg it out for a base hit. But Gibson bounced off the mound and made an athletic effort to scoop up the ball and throw out Peterson to end the inning.
The Twins close out their four-game series with the Orioles with a 1:10 p.m. CT finale on Sunday at Target Field. Jake Odorizzi (3-6, 4.57 ERA) gets the nod and will try to bounce back from the loss he took last time out in Milwaukee. Odorizzi faces off against former teammate Alex Cobb, who is 2-10 this season with a 6.53 ERA.
Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.