MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Long before Félix Bautista's strong finish on the mound for Baltimore, Cedric Mullins went over the wall to make another defiant catch.
Byron Buxton could hardly believe it.
Ramón Urías drove in the automatic runner with a first-pitch double off Minnesota closer Jhoan Duran in the 10th inning, and the Orioles outlasted the Twins 3-1 on Friday night after Mullins got them going.
Bautista (4-1) pitched two hitless innings with three strikeouts for the Orioles, after Aaron Hicks added a sacrifice fly that drove in Urías. Bautista has 84 strikeouts in 42 innings.
“Where would we be without Bautista?” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He was just amazing.”
Mullins thwarted a three-run homer by Buxton in the fourth inning.
“Just trying to see if I could time the jump if I have room to,” Mullins said. "I was able to do just that.”
He also drove in the game's first run in the sixth for the Orioles, who scored twice in the eighth inning Sunday against Duran (2-4) in Baltimore. The right-hander threw only 13 pitches in a perfect ninth.
“Who else do you want on the mound?” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “That’s the guy we’re going to turn to if he’s rested and if it all makes sense.”
Orioles starter Cole Irvin took a shutout into the seventh inning, when Kyle Farmer hit a one-out double and immediately scored to tie the game on Willi Castro's single against reliever Mike Baumann.
Irvin started with three perfect innings until a bloop single by Carlos Correa started the fourth. Donovan Solano followed with another single, before Buxton's big swing nearly gave the Twins a 3-0 lead.
Mullins raced back and snagged the ball about a foot over the center field wall, causing an incredulous Buxton to rip his helmet off with both hands and slam it on the dirt. He swung his arms out wide in a “How could you do that to me?” fashion, flashing a smile as Mullins made the same motion back to him.
“It’s baseball. It is what it is. Good player. Can’t do nothing about it,” Buxton said. “Come back tomorrow and do it again.”
On Sunday, Mullins helped Irvin by robbing Buxton of an extra-base hit with a running catch at the wall. Irvin gave up one run in five innings in that game, a 2-1 win by the Orioles that averted a sweep.
“I think the one the other day was more difficult just because of the speed in which I had to get to the wall, back-handing it,” Mullins said.
The Orioles (52-35) have the third-best record in baseball and moved within three games of AL East leader Tampa Bay, the closest they've been since May 30.
Ober beat the Orioles 1-0 in his last turn with just two hits allowed in seven scoreless innings in Baltimore, triggering an impeccable run through the rotation for a Twins staff that leads the major leagues in ERA. The five starters combined for three earned runs and 17 hits allowed in 35 innings with 45 strikeouts and five walks, capped by a four-hit shutout on Wednesday from Pablo López.
The Orioles had 13 runs by the fourth inning in New York on Thursday of a 14-1 win over the Yankees, but Ober again kept them quiet. The 6-foot-9 right-hander retired the leadoff hitter in every inning until the sixth, when Anthony Santander doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mullins.
Ober gave the Twins their seventh consecutive quality start of six-plus innings and three earned runs or fewer, their longest such streak since 2011.
Orioles left fielder Austin Hays was added to the starting lineup for the American League All-Star team as an injury replacement, having already been tabbed as a reserve. Hyde sent Hays an early-morning text message as soon as he was informed, urging him to call.
“That was a really great feeling to tell him that awesome news,” Hyde said.
Hays missed his fifth straight game because of a bruised left hip, but he was available off the bench and on track to return to action on Saturday.
Orioles: RHP Tyler Wells (6-4, 3.19 ERA) starts on Saturday afternoon. He was drafted by the Twins in the 15th round in 2016 and selected by the Orioles in the Rule 5 major league draft in 2020.
Twins: RHP Sonny Gray (4-2, 2.50 ERA), the team's lone All-Star, takes the mound for the matinee.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Copyright 2023 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.