MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles have tumbled through the last two months, with their starting pitchers the biggest part of the problem.
Wade Miley was the solution on Saturday.
Jonathan Schoop and Mark Trumbo each homered in support of Miley’s best performance in more than five weeks, and the Orioles beat the Minnesota Twins 5-1 to stop a five-game losing streak.
“If we’re looking in the standings right now, we’re wrong. We just go play day by day and play the game the right way,” Miley said. “That was a pretty clean baseball game. It’s one of the first ones in a while.”
Manny Machado added an RBI double to help the Orioles beat the Twins for the first time in six meetings this season. This was just their third win in 11 games, and they’re 19-36 since May 10 to fall from first place in the American League East to being tied for last.
Miley (4-7) had his own struggles to deal with. He failed to finish three innings in three of his last six starts, an awful stretch that saw his ERA balloon from 2.82 to 5.20. Against the Twins, he gave up eight hits and three walks, but only one run before leaving with two outs in the sixth.
“It’s a good way to end it,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “That’s why these guys are what they are. They don’t run away from their struggles. They want to get back and make the contributions that they’re asked to make.”
After Miguel Sano’s 21st home run, Schoop trumped his All-Star teammate with a towering two-run shot in the fourth inning off Adalberto Mejia (4-4). The ball landed in the third deck above left field, estimated by Major League Baseball’s Statcast system at 462 feet.
“Everything worked today,” Schoop said. “We’re looking for it to work tomorrow.”
Mejia was removed with two outs in the seventh, after allowing five hits, three walks and four runs. He had won each of his previous three starts, but the Twins stranded 10 runners on base over the first six innings and didn’t come close to the stirring comeback they produced on Friday from a 6-0 deficit for a 9-6 victory.
Sano stretched his hitting streak to a season-long and career-high-tying 10 straight games. He’s batting .342 with three homers and nine RBIs on the run. His before-the-break total is the most by a Twins player since Justin Morneau had 21 homers in 2009.
“I need to hit more than that,” Sano said, “and next year hit more than that.”
After signing 44-year-old right-hander Bartolo Colon to a minor-league contract for at least one turn with Triple-A Rochester, the Twins could bring him up to start as soon as July 18 against the New York Yankees. Jose Berrios, Ervin Santana, Kyle Gibson and Mejia have been ordered for after the All-Star break, but there’s a fifth spot in the rotation that’ll need to be filled.
Twins outfielder Zack Granite, who was recalled from Triple-A Rochester, arrived in Minnesota after midnight but still beat manager Paul Molitor to work on his first day of major league duty. Granite debuted in the eighth inning with an 11-pitch at-bat that ended with a pop up and a rousing ovation from the crowd of 26,323.
“That’s definitely the loudest I’ve ever heard a stadium for an out,” Granite said, “so that was kind of cool.”
SCHOOP AT SHORT
The Orioles designated SS Paul Janish for assignment to make room for RHP Chris Tillman, who returned from paternity leave to join the bullpen for now. With manager Buck Showalter wanting to give Johnny Giavotella some work at 2B, Schoop got his first career start at SS.
Orioles: Miley was tripped by a spinning barrel off the broken bat of Kennys Vargas during an inning-ending groundout in the fifth, sending him to the ground, but he returned for the sixth after walking off gingerly.
Twins: Molitor said he’s “fairly confident” that 1B Joe Mauer (strained lower back) will be ready to play as soon as he’s eligible to come off the DL on Friday for the first game after the break.
Orioles: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (3-4, 6.64 ERA) pitches on Sunday. His ERA has never been lower than 5.44 over his last 40 appearances since May 12, 2016.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (5-6, 5.82 ERA) takes the mound to wrap up the series. Since being recalled May 22 from Triple-A, he’s 5-2 with a 4.59 ERA in nine starts.