Rising Star: Dozier's walk-off HR clips Orioles
MINNEAPOLIS -- Brian Dozier was left off the All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile roster on Monday, but he proved why he's a worthy candidate, crushing a two-run blast in the 10th inning to lift the Twins to a 4-2 walk-off win over the Orioles at Target Field.
Dozier, one of the candidates for the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote, deposited a 2-0 fastball from reliever Tommy Hunter over the left-field fence for his team-leading 17th homer of the year. It gave the Twins their third-walk off win of the season.
"He found his way on that ballot, which is recognition in itself, and, it worked out well for him on the first day to do what he did," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "People who like to watch SportsCenter or MLB Tonight, they'll see what he's doing. Maybe they'll put up his numbers from the first half and it'll catch some people's eyes."
Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen and Twins righty Phil Hughes both pitched well, but were saddled with no-decisions, as they both gave up a pair of solo shots. Chen gave up two runs on four hits over seven frames, while Hughes went 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on nine hits.
"Usually [solo home runs] don't beat you," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "[Chen] found his step there and gave us a really good chance to win. Two runs are two runs anyway you look at it."
Baltimore and Minnesota traded solo blasts in the first with Manny Machado leading off with his 18th homer before Torii Hunter tied it with his 13th. Aaron Hicks gave the Twins the lead with his homer in the second before the Orioles tied it on Adam Jones' shot off the foul pole in the sixth.
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Hicks giveth, taketh away: Hicks connected on his second homer in as many days with a solo blast off Chen to give the Twins the lead in the second. But his catch in the fourth was even more impressive, as he robbed Chris Parmelee of an RBI extra-base hit with a running over-the-shoulder grab near the warning track in center to end the inning.
"The German judge gave it a 7.7," Molitor said with a laugh. "You have to turn your back and the wind is blowing, and it had spin it. If you ever run full speed with your back to the ball it's just not an easy play."
All-Stars deliver: Shortly after being named to the American League All-Star team, third baseman Machado led off with his 18th home run of the season. And in the sixth, fellow All-Star Jones clanked a ball off the left-field foul pole to the tie game at 2. Both Machado and Jones nearly homered in the 10th, with Machado flying out deep to straightaway center and Jones drilling one just foul in left.
"I hit that one well. I thought it was going to go a little further, maybe off the wall, but I guess it got a little colder at night and the ball didn't fly as much, but it was just a good swing," Machado said.
Torii ties it: After Machado's leadoff homer in the first, the Twins wasted no time tying the game in the bottom half on a one-out blast from Hunter. It was the 13th homer for Hunter and fifth over his last 10 games.
O's strand two: The Orioles chased Hughes from the game in the seventh with back-to-back singles from David Lough and Machado. Lough hustled to third, putting runners on the corners with one out, but designated hitter Jimmy Paredes grounded into a routine double play on the first pitch from Brian Duensing.
"The man on third less than two outs, I'm always surprised by the percentage in the Major Leagues and we're in the higher group of that, and you just realize it's not something you just dial up because somebody's out there," Showalter said. "There's two parts to the equation. We're doing a lot of good things to get people out there."
"I think it's No. 1 for me right now. Just because of the level of difficulty. I still don't know how I caught it." -- Hicks, on his catch
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Hughes has allowed an AL-high 21 homers in 17 starts this year, but the last eight homers he's allowed have been solo shots, including both on Monday. Of the 21 homers he's served up, 15 have been of the solo variety.
The Twins optioned lefty reliever Aaron Thompson after the game, and will purchase the contract of fellow left-handed reliever Ryan O'Rourke from Triple-A Rochester. Thompson appeared in an American League-high 41 games, posting a 5.01 ERA in 32 1/3 innings. O'Rourke had a 5.93 ERA in 13 2/3 innings at Rochester, but of the 110 lefties he's faced over the last two years, he's struck out 62.
"Aaron was a big part of our team in the first half and took advantage coming out of spring. Hasn't been going particularly well of late," Molitor said. "So we'll bring up Ryan O'Rourke, who has been in our organization a long time and is tough on lefties, in particular."
Orioles: Right-hander Kevin Gausman will get the ball for Tuesday's series rematch at 8:10 p.m. ET. This is just his second start since being being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk. He's 1-0 in 10 games -- two starts -- on the year.
Twins: Right-hander Kyle Gibson starts the middle game of the series on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Gibson has been solid with a 2.45 ERA over his last four starts, including tossing eight scoreless innings against the Royals last Thursday.
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