BALTIMORE — The Minnesota Twins held the Baltimore Orioles to 11 hits over their three-game opening series at Camden Yards. The Orioles won the first game, 3-2 in 11 innings, but the Twins came back on Saturday and Sunday with 6-2 and 7-0 wins.
Game 1 (3-2/11 BAL): For the second year in a row, the Orioles won on Opening Day at home 3-2 in 11 innings off a walk-off home run. Both teams started slow offensively, with the Orioles striking first in the seventh inning. Trey Mancini reached first after striking out due to a wild pitch. Danny Valencia was intentionally walked, and both runners scored on a triple by Caleb Joseph.
Dylan Bundy dazzled on the mound, throwing seven shutout innings. He allowed just five hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in 88 pitches. Darren O’Day tossed the eighth inning, recording a strikeout. Things got shaky in the ninth inning during Brad Brach‘s first save attempt of the season. Brach got Miguel Sano to strike out, then Eddie Rosario singled and made it to second on a passed ball. Brach then walked two of the next three batters – Logan Morrison (Ryan LaMarre pinch-runner) and Max Kepler – along with striking out Eduardo Escobar. With the bases loaded, Robbie Grossman singled to score Rosario and LaMarre, and Buck Showalter had seen enough. Mychal Givens had to come in for the final out, and the teams went into extras tied at two.
Givens pitched the 10’th inning, while Richard Bleier worked the 11’th. In the latter half of the inning, Adam Jones, playing in his 11’th straight Opening Day with the Orioles, slammed his first home run of 2018 to left field for the walk-off win.
For Minnesota, starter Jake Odorizzi pitched six shutout innings, allowing two hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. Bleier picked up the win, while Minnesota closer Fernando Rodney collected the loss.
Game 2 (6-2 MIN): Andrew Cashner‘s Orioles debut did not go as well as the 31-year-old veteran would have liked. After recording the first two outs in the first inning, Sano homered to left field. Jason Castro (third inning) and Kepler (fourth inning) also homered off Cashner. with the final earned runs tallied to Cashner came on groundouts. He lasted five innings, allowing five earned runs on six hits, two walks, and five strikeouts in 79 pitches.
Nestor Cortes Jr. made his Orioles debut on Saturday, pitching two innings. In the seventh inning, Joe Mauer singled to right field to score Brian Dozier, giving Minnesota a 6-0 lead. The Orioles cut into that lead in the ninth inning when Valencia doubled and Tim Beckham homered to left-center, but after that Chance Sisco struck out and Chris Davis flew out to end the ballgame.
The Orioles were limited to three hits on Saturday, with two of them coming in the bottom of the ninth. Cashner received the loss, while Kyle Gibson earned the win for the Twins. He tossed six innings, walking five and striking out six in 102 pitches.
Game 3 (7-0 MIN): After being limited to three hits on Saturday, the Orioles did it again on Easter Sunday. Kevin Gausman gave up four runs in the first inning and all the O’s could do was look up as Dozier, Sano, and Escobar homered off the 27-year-old right-hander. After Dozier homered on the first pitch of the contest, Mauer walked and made it to second base on a bunt ground ball hit by Rosario. With two outs, Escobar doubled to score Mauer, and then Gausman threw a wild pitch that left plenty of time for Rosario to reach home. The last run of the inning came on a single by Byron Buxton, scoring Escobar.
Gausman woulds settle down for a 1-2-3 second inning, but Sano and Escobar homered in the third inning. Gausman only lasted four innings, giving up six runs on seven hits, two walks and five strikeouts in 73 pitches. The Twins added their last run in the sixth inning when Dozier hit his second home run of the game off Orioles’ Rule 5 selection Pedro Araujo.
Sisco put up two of the three Orioles hits, and Manny Machado earned the third. Minnesota starter José Berríos pitched a complete game, walking one and striking out six. All three Minnesota starters that pitched in this series left Camden Yards with 0.00 ERA’s.
Up next: The Orioles embark on a seven-game road trip against two powerhouses in the American League. The Birds leave Baltimore on Sunday and travel to Houston for a three-game set with the defending world champion-Houston Astros, who will be celebrating their 2017 Championship during their Opening Day ceremonies on Monday. The O’s will then head to the Bronx for a four-game weekend series against the Yankees, although weather could have other plans. As of this writing, snow and rain are expected in New York on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Image Credit: Star Tribune