BALTIMORE (AP) The Baltimore Orioles had the bases loaded in the eighth inning of a tie game when rookie Jordan Westburg stepped to the plate with one single objective.
“My whole goal going into that at-bat was to do anything to get that run across and help the team get a win,” Westburg said.
What it took was getting plunked on the left hand with a 101 mph fastball. Painful, yes, but the payoff was worth it.
With Westburg lending a hand, the Orioles beat the Minnesota Twins 2-1 Sunday to snap a four-game skid and avoid being swept for the first time this season.
Twins closer Jhoan Duran entered in the eighth with a 1-0 lead. The Orioles had scored only one run over 25 innings during the series and were down to their final five outs in the finale after Gunnar Henderson opened the inning with a strikeout.
Then, successive singles by Adley Rutschman, Anthony Santander and Aaron Hicks tied the score. After a groundout and an intentional walk loaded the bases, Duran (2-3) plunked Westburg with a fastball to give the Orioles their first lead in the series.
With his hand wrapped in ice, Westburg acknowledged that he had never been hit that hard with a pitch. But he added, “I'm pretty confident that I'll be OK.”
Cionel Pérez (2-1) worked a perfect eighth inning and Félix Bautista struck out the side in the ninth for his 22nd save in 27 chances.
Baltimore scored three runs with 12 hits in the series against the AL Central-leading Twins.
“Our pitchers were a huge part of what went on here,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We barely gave up any runs the whole series. The eighth inning is really the only blemish I see in the entire series.”
That one inning was enough to get the Orioles a much-needed victory.
“Sometimes you have to scratch out wins like this to get you going,” Hicks said.
Twins starter Sonny Gray allowed two hits over six shutout innings, striking out seven and walking three on a steamy day at Camden Yards. The right-hander faced only one serious jam, in the fifth inning when the Orioles loaded the bases with two outs before Gray retired Rutschman on a flyout.
But Minnesota couldn't back him offensively.
“We hit a lot of balls pretty well,” Baldelli said. “If we hit the ball like that we're going to score more than a run off the starting pitcher.”
Baltimore's Cole Irvin gave up one run and six hits in five innings. He and Gray put up zeroes until the fifth, when Byron Buxton singled, took second in a wild pitch and scored on Willi Castro's two-out double.
“This is a grinder of a win, and I think we needed it going into an important series in New York,” said Irvin, referring to a four-game matchup with the Yankees that begins Monday night.
Twins: Placed INF Royce Lewis on the 10-day IL with a left oblique strain and recalled INF José Miranda from Triple-A St. Paul. Lewis was injured Saturday while running out a grounder in the third inning. “He’ll be out for a little while, for sure,” Baldelli said.
Orioles: OF Austin Hays left in the fourth inning with a hip contusion. He was replaced by Hicks, who drove in the tying run.
Twins: RHP Joe Ryan (8-5, 3.44 ERA) starts Monday night in the opener of a three-game series against the visiting Kansas City Royals.
Orioles: Coming off a perfect game against Oakland, right-hander Domingo Germán goes up against Baltimore RH Tyler Wells (6-4, 3.21) at Yankee Stadium on Monday night. -
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