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Orioles go for series split vs. Twins

Sportsnaut
Apr 28, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini (16) runs to third base on Baltimore Orioles left fielder Austin Hays (21) (not pictured) single against the New York Yankees during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

There was plenty to unpack for the Baltimore Orioles after Wednesday’s 9-4 win over the visiting Minnesota Twins.

It was a performance that included an offense that tied the team-season-high mark for runs with nine and collected 12 hits. The bullpen was just about untouchable, working more than half of the game, and the defense tied a franchise record with five double plays.

If the Orioles can duplicate just some of that, they might be in good shape when they take on the Twins in Thursday night’s finale of a four-game series.

The Twins will try to get back on track after the loss, just the second in the team’s last 13 games. They’ve been one of the best teams in the major league across the first month of the season.

The Twins will go with right-hander Chris Archer (0-0, 2.93 ERA), making his fifth start of the season. Spenser Watkins (0-0, 2.55) will head to the mound for the Orioles, who will try for a series split. Watkins is 1-3 with a 6.43 ERA in four appearances against the Rays in his career.

This will be Archer’s 22nd career start against the Orioles, all coming as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. He holds a 5-8 record vs. Baltimore, losing his past two decisions in 2018 before taking a no-decision in one meeting last season.

Watkins hasn’t given up more than two earned runs in any of his four starts this season. His eight walks and eight strikeouts aren’t an ideal ratio, though.

The Orioles scored all of their runs Wednesday in back-to-back innings, with six runs in the third and three in the fourth.

“Two of our better innings,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “I thought we did a lot of good things offensively.”

From the perspective of Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, the focus will be on cleaning up some sloppy play in the field. There were rare defensive glitches, including two errors.

“We talk about shortening the innings,” Baldelli said. “You’ve got to get the outs when you can. We need to tighten that up. … We make the plays; I think we have a chance to win the game.”

Hyde said the efficiency from his team’s relievers was crucial, something that could help set up the Orioles for the next couple of games because the bullpen wasn’t taxed.

Those double plays were part of it. Hyde said relievers, with Cionel Perez in particular, are prone to induce ground balls.

“It’s hard to win a game when you hit into that many double plays. That’s a fact,” Baldelli said. “But I can’t say I wasn’t happy with the at-bats.”

Minnesota’s relievers remained stellar. They haven’t allowed a run in the first three games of the series.

“And they’re probably available in a day or a day or two because of how efficient they were,” Baldelli said.

Orioles designated hitter Trey Mancini had three hits Wednesday, all infield singles. He’s not at full strength because of injured ribs since last week, though he’s been in the lineup for the past two games.

“Still sore, but good enough to be out here,” Mancini said.

–Field Level Media