MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Anthony Santander hit two of Baltimore's six homers and the Orioles completed a sweep of the Minnesota Twins with a 15-2 victory on Sunday.

Aaron Hicks added a three-run homer against his former team in the Orioles' seven-run fifth. Austin Hays, Ramón Urías and Adley Rutschman also went deep for Baltimore.

Baltimore closed the first half of the season on a five-game winning streak after losing four straight.

“We've been playing these last five games extremely well,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “Our starting pitching has been the key. We showed our power today. I feel like we were in a power drought a little bit there for a little while, but these guys showed you how much power they have.”

After scoring seven runs in the fifth, the Orioles’ offense continued to roll in the sixth with six more runs. Rutschman - who will compete in the All-Star Home Run Derby on Monday in Seattle - launched a career-long, 461-foot two-run drive in the sixth off reliever Cole Sands.

Santander followed with a solo shot, the first time this season the Orioles hit back-to-back home runs. He homered again in the seventh for his team-leading 16th of the year.

“Great first half for everybody as a team,” Santander said. “I think it's good momentum to keep playing like this the second half.”

It’s the second time in four games Baltimore scored at least 14 runs. They scored 14 against the Yankees in the series finale Thursday.

Baltimore headed into the break with a 54-35 record, two games behind first-place Tampa Bay in the American League East. The loss dropped the Twins to 45-46, a half game back of Cleveland in the AL Central.

“We put ourselves in a position where we can still go out there, play some good baseball, accomplish everything we want to accomplish,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “No doors are closed right now, which I think is a silver lining, even after a game like today.”

Former Twin Kyle Gibson (9-6) was sharp against his old club. The right-hander struck out 11 and allowed just three hits in seven innings, two of them to Edouard Julien. The Twins second baseman drove in the game's first run with a double in the first and hit a solo homer in the sixth.

Not known as a high-strikeout pitcher throughout his career, Gibson tied his career high Sunday with 11.

“I've had months where I haven't struck out 11 guys in my career,” Gibson said. “To do it in one game is really special. I think I still have just as many zero strikeout games as I do double-digit strikeout games.”

Baltimore chased Twins starter Joe Ryan (8-6) from the game after just 4 2/3 innings. Ryan finished with a season-high 10 strikeouts, including the first eight outs he recorded. But he ran into trouble in the fifth before getting pulled after 98 pitches.

Despite Sunday's outing, Minnesota enters the break with the second-best ERA (3.64) among all starting rotations in the majors.

“We have a little bit more potential to show and capitalize on, some talents that we haven’t really done as well in the first half," Ryan said. “Hopefully everyone can take a couple days, and then also focus up and hone in on what they can control, and what we can control as a group.”


Orioles: Prior to Sunday’s game, Baltimore activated infielder Ryan Mountcastle (vertigo) from the 10-day injured list and optioned LHP Bruce Zimmermann to Triple-A Norfolk. Mountcastle hadn’t played since June 8 and was officially placed on the IL on June 13. He wasn't in the starting lineup Sunday but had a pinch hit RBI single in the fifth inning.

Twins: INF Jorge Polanco, who hasn’t played since June 8 with a left hamstring strain, could begin his rehab assignment with Triple-A St. Paul as soon as next weekend, said Derek Falvey, the Twins’ President of Baseball Operations. “All signs really point to good news,” Falvey said.


Both teams enter the All-Star break.


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