Twins sweep away Orioles, but Showalter still thinks his team can make playoff run
BALTIMORE — Buck Showalter still believes his Baltimore Orioles can make a postseason run.
The Minnesota Twins made that harder for them.
Trevor Plouffe hit a tying single with two outs in the ninth inning and the Twins took advantage of two errors in the 12th to beat Baltimore 4-3 on Sunday for a four-game sweep.
The Twins have won eight straight against Baltimore dating to last season.
"We had some opportunities we didn't cash in on," Showalter said. "Uncharacteristically had some errors at the end that cost us. There's a lot of things you can critique and break down, but we just didn't push over enough runs."
Minnesota manager Paul Molitor was ejected in the ninth for arguing a strikeout by Miguel Sano, who tried to hold back his swing. Plouffe followed with his hit, giving closer Zach Britton his third blown save of the season.
Baltimore is two games behind Texas for the second AL wild card.
"We lost four, so obviously where we are right now, we want to play better and win some of these games, especially these one-run games where we feel normally we have a good shot and we pull those out," Britton said.
All-Star third baseman Manny Machado moved to shortstop for the first time in his major league career in the 12th and misplayed a grounder by Eduardo Escobar, who slid in safely to second.
It was Machado's second error of the game.
Third baseman Jimmy Paredes then could not handle a sharp grounder by Shane Robinson that allowed Escobar to score.
"We're obviously worrying about it," Machado said about the skid. "We lost four straight after winning in a good start to this home series. We're bummed out about it, but we're still in the fight."
Glen Perkins (2-4), who had been dealing with a bulging disc and hadn't pitched since Aug. 17, picked up the win. Tommy Milone got his first career save.
Brian Matusz (1-3) took the loss.
After allowing a two run-homer to Sano in the first, Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman retired 17 straight batters. Gausman gave up two runs and three hits over seven innings and tied a career best with eight strikeouts.
"Every team we play from here on out is really good, especially in September," Gausman said. "We wanted to win this series or at least get one game. That's just baseball."
Adam Jones and Schoop each had three hits for the Orioles.
Twins starter Mike Pelfrey gave up three runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings.
Baltimore had gone 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position against Pelfrey before Schoop delivered an RBI single in the third that cut the lead to 2-1.
After Jones singled and Steve Clevenger hit a ground-rule double two innings later, Schoop delivered again with another single that gave Baltimore a 3-2 lead and ended Pelfrey's day.
"We have shown resiliency, which is a good thing," Molitor said. "We have some young guys who learn how to play. I just think that we have good leadership out there."
The Orioles completed their third homestand in club history (1951) where they swept a four-game series (Oakland) and were swept in a four-game series, according to STATS, LLC. It also happened in 1972 and 1954.
Twins: Blaine Boyer (right elbow inflammation) is eligible to come off the DL on Monday against the Rays, but he may need a rehab appearance.
Orioles: Steve Pearce (left oblique strain) had a double and played nine innings in his rehab start for Double-A Bowie. He could rejoin the Orioles in Kansas City.
Twins: Ervin Santana (2-4, 5.53) starts Tuesday in Tampa Bay looking to bounce back from his recent struggles. He has gone 0-4 with an 8.46 ERA in his past five starts, allowing seven homers over that stretch. Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez (9-7, 3.97 ERA) is looking to go deeper into the game when he faces the Royals in the series opener. He has lasted through the sixth inning in two of his past eight starts.