Orioles' O'Day lets late lead get away in loss to Twins
BALTIMORE - As Darren O'Day walked to the mound in the eighth inning with a two-run lead to protect, the Baltimore Orioles seemed assured of securing a satisfying victory.
Baltimore was 51-1 when ahead after seven innings, and O'Day was working on run of 11 straight scoreless appearances that had lowered his ERA to 1.15.
On this occasion, however, past performances meant nothing. Taking advantage of a wild spell by O'Day (5-2) and no small amount of luck, the Minnesota Twins used a three-run eighth to rally to a 4-3 victory Friday night.
"The baseball gods aren't always kind to you," Orioles manager Buck Showalter lamented after Baltimore lost for the third time in four games.
A walk, a pop single down the right-field line that barely landed fair and Torii Hunter getting hit by a pitch loaded the bases for Eddie Rosario, who delivered a fly to right. Gerardo Parra fired the ball to third base too late, and all three runners advanced.
Kurt Suzuki followed with a flare past the drawn-up infield for a 4-3 lead.
"If you really go back and examine the inning, there's a lot of little things that went wrong. The walk is probably the thing I'm most frustrated about," O'Day said. "Those bounces go my way usually, but didn't tonight."
The Twins were delighted to take those fortunate hops.
"We got a little bit lucky there in our rally," manager Paul Molitor said. "We got a couple bloops, a hit batsman and some good base running."
Casey Fien (3-5) worked 1 2/3 innings, Trevor May pitched the eighth and Kevin Jepsen struck out the side for his sixth save, the first since coming to Minnesota from Tampa Bay in a July 31 trade.
Seeking their first win in five tries against the Twins this season, the Orioles used a three-run homer from Parra to take a 3-1 lead. But it wasn't enough.
Minnesota has won six in a row against the Orioles dating back to last year. Both teams are chasing the Los Angeles Angels for the second AL wild card.
"We lost to another team that is going for the wild card," Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen said. "Of course it hurts a lot."
Chen allowed one run and seven hits in six innings. He was poised to win his fourth straight decision before the usually sound Orioles bullpen let the lead slip away.
After giving up a single to Adam Jones and walk to Chris Davis in the first inning, Minnesota's Tommy Milone retired 13 in a row before Nolan Reimold singled leading off the sixth. Manny Machado also singled before Parra hit a drive over the right-field wall.
In 19 games since coming to the Orioles in a trade with Milwaukee on July 31, Parra is hitting .284 with five homers and has scored 17 runs.
Minnesota went up 1-0 in the fourth when No. 9 hitter Eduardo Nunez worked out of an 0-2 count to draw a walk with the bases loaded and two outs. Chen avoided further damage by retiring Byron Buxton on a ground er.
Twins: Closer Glen Perkins will throw a side session Saturday, three days after receiving a cortisone injection in his ailing neck. If all goes well, the lefty could return to the bullpen for the Twins' series opener at Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Orioles: OF-1B Steve Pearce (strained left oblique) will begin a rehabilitation assignment Saturday with Double-A Bowie. He will play Sunday, too, and could come off the DL early next week.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (8-9, 3.99 ERA) makes his third career start against the Orioles on Saturday night. He beat Baltimore on July 7, allowing two runs in six innings.
Orioles: Chris Tillman (9-7, 4.54) has won seven straight decisions since May 31 but is 0-3 lifetime against Minnesota.