Duffey cruises as Twins pour it on Orioles
BALTIMORE -- Twins right-hander Tyler Duffey was unfazed by a downpour that stalled Thursday's start by two hours and 31 minutes. In just his third Major League start, the 6-foot-3 rookie responded to the delay like a veteran, going 7 2/3 innings to lead the Twins to a 15-2 victory and their fourth straight win over the Orioles this season.
Duffey was aided by a five-run second inning from the Minnesota offense, which drew some early boos from Baltimore fans directed at starter Miguel Gonzalez. After an 11-pitch first inning, Gonzalez tossed 40 pitches in the second as four different Twins players picked up an RBI in the frame.
The Orioles were able to scratch across a pair of runs in the eighth inning thanks to RBI singles from Gerardo Parra and Caleb Joseph, but the Twins cruised behind a season high in runs to gain a game on the Orioles in the American League Wild Card chase. It was the most runs for Minnesota against the Orioles since July 16, 2012, when the Twins scored 19, and the most Twins runs ever at Oriole Park.
"Fifteen runs, it's hard to lose a game when you score that many runs, regardless of how the pitching is," Duffey said.
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Five-spot: Torii Hunter drove in the first run of the inning by working an 0-2 count into a walk, and Kurt Suzuki followed up with a two-run single. Eduardo Escobar and Brian Dozier also contributed with a pair of RBI singles as Minnesota got off to a 5-0 lead. The Twins had a chance for more, but the Orioles' Henry Urrutia threw out Escobar at the plate on Dozier's single. The inning was the beginning of a monster offensive night for the Twins, who also struck for five runs in the eighth.
Doesn't look like a rookie: Duffey picked up his second consecutive win, going 7 2/3 innings, giving up 10 hits and two runs while striking out a career-high eight. It was Duffey's longest outing of his career, and he didn't walk a batter for the first time in his three career starts. More >
"Duffey was solid," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "They had a lot of trouble with that breaking ball. He kept it down. He threw it for a strike earlier. Got 'em chasing a little bit. It started flattening a little bit toward the end after some of the long innings he was on the sidelines there. But yeah, just hit his spots with his fastball. And the curveball was really good."
Gonzo's struggles continue: The Twins' production chased Gonzalez after seven runs over five innings, continuing what has been a rough second half for the right-hander. He has lost three straight decisions and is winless in his past five starts.
"This game isn't easy, and it'll humble you for sure," he said. "No matter how good you are, you are going to go through some tough times. All you got to do is forget about it and move on."
O's find some offense: The Orioles came up with some knocks of their own, just not at the right times. They finished with 10 hits -- including an eighth-inning single from Ryan Flaherty that ended his 0-for-34 skid -- but the Orioles simply could not match the Twins' output.
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Miguel Sano hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning, becoming the fastest to reach 10 home runs in Minnesota history (41 games). The previous mark was set by Marty Cordova, who did it in 48 games.
"For the most part, [the curveball] is always my put-away pitch. It's just one of those things where if they are swinging at it, I'm going to keep throwing it. Towards the end there it got a little flat after some long innings. I just have to make better pitches late if I really want to get really deep into a game." -- Duffey
Twins: In the second game of this four-game set on Friday (6:05 p.m. CT), Tommy Milone (6-3, 3.65 ERA) will make his second start since coming off the disabled list with a left elbow strain. He beat Baltimore on July 8 with a strong seven-inning performance, and owns a 1.73 ERA in four career starts against the Orioles.
Orioles: Wei-Yin Chen (7-6, 3.20) will try for a fourth straight win Friday night at 7:05 ET. He's been the Orioles' most consistent pitcher this season and took a no-decision in his only start vs. the Twins this year.
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