Twins rebound from sweep in Atlanta with blowout win over Orioles
BALTIMORE (AP) — It's never clear how effective a closed-door meeting will be in baseball.
What it does do is put the next game under a microscope.
Joey Gallo, Max Kepler and Byron Buxton homered to help Minnesota break out of its offensive funk, and Pablo López allowed three hits in six innings for the Twins in an 8-1 rout of the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.
After scoring just three runs in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Atlanta Braves — and closing the clubhouse after the finale for a team meeting — the Twins scored in each of the first four innings at Camden Yards.
“The response everyone's looking for is what we got,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I think we tapped into something. We’ve had some good offensive games along the way, but we haven’t tapped into that — what we just saw out there, the true quality and nature of the at-bats that we had.”
Gallo hit a solo homer in the second, and Kepler's two-run shot in the third made it 5-0.
López (4-5) allowed a sixth-inning homer to Adley Rutschman for Baltimore's only run. He struck out six and walked three. Minnesota is still a game under .500, but the Twins moved a game ahead of Cleveland atop the AL Central.
Minnesota went 0 for 23 with runners in scoring position in that series at Atlanta. The Twins came through in their very first opportunity in Baltimore — when Royce Lewis hit a broken-bat single to drive in a run in the first.
Dean Kremer (8-4) lasted three-plus innings, allowing seven runs and seven hits. After Gallo's second-inning homer, Alex Kirilloff made it 3-0 with an RBI single in the third. Then Kepler went deep.
“I think everyone went into this game with a little bit of an alternative mindset,” Baldelli said. “I think everyone was locked in on everyone else's at-bats, really paying attention to everything going on in the game instead of just preparing for their stuff.”
Kremer was pulled after starting the fourth with a walk and a hit batter, and Buxton connected later that inning off Bruce Zimmermann for his 14th homer of the year, a three-run shot that made it 8-0.
The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 26 minutes because of rain.
The Orioles loaded the bases against López in the second thanks to a couple walks, but Cedric Mullins hit a first-pitch flyball to right to end the inning.
“That was the most important inning when it came to either make it or break it,” López said. “I put men on base without really making the most competitive pitches, but once I loaded the bases I realized, there's still two outs. I walked the previous batter, but this count starts 0-0.”
Twins: López was hit by Austin Hays' comebacker in the second, but stayed in the game.
Orioles: Baltimore put LHP Keegan Akin (lower back discomfort) on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to Thursday. The Orioles recalled LHP Nick Vespi from Triple-A Norfolk. ... Manager Brandon Hyde said RHP Dillon Tate (right elbow flexor strain) will get a second opinion, and the team hopes he can go out on a rehab assignment after that. RHP Mychal Givens (right shoulder inflammation) was to play catch Friday, with a plan to send him to Florida next week with rehab games after the All-Star break. ... C James McCann (left ankle sprain) is expected to catch nine innings Saturday and Sunday for a minor league affiliate. ... RHP Austin Voth (right elbow discomfort) is expected to throw a side session Sunday.
Kyle Bradish (4-3) takes the mound for the Orioles on Saturday against Bailey Ober (4-4) of the Twins. Bradish allowed two hits in seven innings against Seattle in his most recent start.
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