Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Twins' bullpen plays key role in win over O's

MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- While the offense obviously played a huge role in erasing an early six-run deficit, the largest comeback of the year for the Twins this season, it wouldn't have been possible without the bullpen throwing 6 1/3 scoreless innings.

Rookie right-hander Felix Jorge struggled in his second career start, surrendering six runs over 2 2/3 innings, but fellow rookie Trevor Hildenberger followed him with 2 1/3 scoreless frames to set the tone for the rest of the night while picking up his first Major League victory in Minnesota's impressive 9-6 win over the Orioles on Friday night at Target Field.

View Full Game Coverage

MINNEAPOLIS -- While the offense obviously played a huge role in erasing an early six-run deficit, the largest comeback of the year for the Twins this season, it wouldn't have been possible without the bullpen throwing 6 1/3 scoreless innings.

Rookie right-hander Felix Jorge struggled in his second career start, surrendering six runs over 2 2/3 innings, but fellow rookie Trevor Hildenberger followed him with 2 1/3 scoreless frames to set the tone for the rest of the night while picking up his first Major League victory in Minnesota's impressive 9-6 win over the Orioles on Friday night at Target Field.

View Full Game Coverage

"It was thrilling," Hildenberger said. "I think the best part of it was the big comeback. Being in the dugout for those two big rallies was really, really fun. It kind of makes me want to be in the dugout all the time. But it wasn't just me. The whole bullpen put up zeroes."

Hildenberger, a sidearming right-hander, has proved to be a useful weapon for Twins manager Paul Molitor, opening his career with 7 1/3 scoreless innings. He helped change the momentum of the game, slowing down an Orioles offense that hit three homers off Jorge.

"Hildenberger really slowed down the game and gave us a chance," Molitor said. "I thought that was a big stint in the game."

But it was more than just Hildenberger who played a key role, as right-hander Ryan Pressly took the mound with a one-run lead in the sixth, and looked more like the pitcher who was expected to be the club's top setup reliever to open the season. He found himself with two runners in scoring position with one out, but he struck out Ruben Tejada before getting Seth Smith to ground out to end Baltimore's chance at tying the game or taking the lead.

Video: BAL@MIN: Pressly retires Smith to end the threat

"It's one of those things where you try to strike him out," Pressly said. "It was a big spot, and thankfully I came through. Being able to throw my curveball for a strike, it's a completely different game when I do that."

Once Pressly departed, the Twins went to their usual trio of Matt Belisle, Taylor Rogers and Brandon Kintzler to finish off the final three innings. Belisle was helped by a double play after allowing a leadoff single, while Rogers picked up his American League-leading 21st hold and Kintzler recorded his AL-leading 24th save.

Video: BAL@MIN: Kintzler retires Machado to seal the win

"We've relied heavily on that particular trio at the end," Molitor said. "We're trying to spread it out so we can keep them fresh because there's a lot of baseball left. That's why those other guys, Pressly included, they're going to have to step up at times in big situations, and tonight they showed they can do that."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

Minnesota Twins