BALTIMORE (AP) — After his recent struggles, Minnesota right-hander Kyle Gibson found positive signs against a powerful Baltimore lineup.
The Twins’ offense, however, did not provide much support.
Chris Davis hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the seventh, Jimmy Paredes homered and the Orioles beat Minnesota 3-2 on Saturday night.
Gibson had allowed five or more runs in three of his past four starts. He was more effective against Baltimore, giving up one run and four hits with six strikeouts and three walks over five innings.
Gibson has been working with pitching coach Rick Anderson and the extra effort paid off.
The Twins, however, have lost 10 of their past 14 games.
“I felt really good tonight,” Gibson said. “I’ve been working hard with (Anderson) in the bullpen just trying to make sure my direction stays on line. I’m trying to get my pitches to be more consistent. That kind of how it was tonight. They made me work hard and I battled.”
Danny Santana had two hits for the Twins and has 40 for the month, most among all rookies. Minnesota went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position.
The Orioles have won five of their past six games and lead the Yankees by eight games in the AL East. Paredes, who was called up from the minors Thursday, went 2 for 4 with his first homer and had two RBIs.
“I was ready to go,” Paredes said. “It feels good, I’m excited. We have a very good team here, we have fun, and we play the game the right way, hard. We’re working hard. We’re trying to make the playoffs and win the World Series.”
Zach Britton pitched a perfect ninth for his 30th save.
Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman allowed one run and six hits with six strikeouts and three walks over five innings — his shortest outing since July 29.
“We were facing a really good pitcher,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We made him work the same way. He threw a lot of pitches. Then, you get into their bullpen and it’s pretty good. We missed a lot of chances. We also got a couple of big hits. Ultimately, we couldn’t shut them down and stop them.”
The Twins won a challenge in the fourth after Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop dropped a short toss from J.J. Hardy that was initially ruled a force out.
However, Tillman retired the next three batters to get out of the jam.
“It was a good game tonight,” Gibson said. “I think the one thing that stands out is both offenses worked the starting pitchers pretty hard. Both teams were patient and made us work hard.”
Paredes had an RBI double to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Minnesota tied the game in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Oswaldo Arcia.
Paredes hit a two-out solo homer off Brian Duensing to make it 2-1 in the sixth. But Joe Mauer tied it again with a single off Andrew Miller (5-5) an inning later with the run charged to Tommy Hunter.
After Jared Burton (2-3) hit Adam Jones and allowed a single to Nelson Cruz, Davis followed with a sacrifice fly to center to make it 3-2.
“We talk all the time about opportunities,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Guys know around baseball that if you sign with us or whether you’re a free agent or from waivers, you’re going to have an opportunity, you’ve just got to be ready for it when it comes.”
Twins: Right-handed reliever Sam Deduno was claimed by the Astros off non-revocable waivers. Minnesota plans to recall left-hander Aaron Thompson from Triple-A Rochester to fill the roster spot Sunday.
Orioles: Steve Pearce, who left Friday’s game with a right abdominal strain while playing first base, had an MRI on Saturday that revealed no tears. He is listed day to day.
Twins: Right-hander Ricky Nolasco (5-9) makes his fifth career start against the Orioles. On May 2 against Baltimore, he pitched a complete game, allowing three runs and nine hits in the Twins’ 3-0 loss.
Orioles: Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen (13-4) will be recalled from the team’s Gulf Coast League team to make his 26th start of the season. Chen is 2-1 with 2.65 ERA in three career outings against the Twins, taking the loss May 3.
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