Orioles hit 2 HRs, rally to beat Twins 4-2 for 3-game sweep
BALTIMORE (AP) On a night when the Baltimore Orioles benefited from several impressive individual performances, one stood above the rest.
Ubaldo Jimenez pitched seven sharp innings in his 2016 debut, and Baltimore rallied past the Minnesota Twins 4-2 Thursday for a three-game sweep.
Manny Machado and rookie Joey Rickard homered for the Orioles, who got a strong outing from their bullpen and a clutch RBI single from Jonathan Schoop.
Most of all, though, there was Jimenez.
''You can go through a lot of different things in that game,'' manager Buck Showalter said, ''but Ubaldo was the key. He was solid.''
Jimenez (1-0) gave up a first-inning homer to Joe Mauer and an unearned run in the second before bouncing back to hold the Twins at bay. The right-hander allowed eight hits, struck out nine and walked none.
''I'm not one of those pitchers that's going to have pinpoint command,'' Jimenez said. ''Definitely every time I have a game like that without a walk it makes me feel good because I know I'm in a good place with my mechanics and everything.''
Jimenez retired 12 of the final 14 batters he faced, striking out seven.
''The first couple of innings they were looking for the fastball right away,'' he said. ''They were hitting, and they came out swinging. But after that, we started throwing all kinds of breaking balls.''
Orioles rookie Dylan Bundy worked the eighth and Darren O'Day got three straight outs for his first save.
It was the first time the Twins were swept in Baltimore since 2012, when they also went 0-3 to open the season.
Minnesota finished 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position after going 1 for 12 in those situations over the first two games of the series.
''The one thing we were able to do last year was capitalize on opportunities, comparably when we didn't have as many as some other teams,'' manager Paul Molitor said. ''I think it's one of those things that builds early. Guys get up there and they are grinding, almost too hard even though we are only three games in.''
Twins starter Phil Hughes (1-0) took a 2-1 lead into the seventh, then gave up successive singles before a driving rain stopped play. After a 21-minute delay, reliever Trevor May threw a wild pitch that allowed the tying run to score.
At that point, far too late, May called for the grounds crew to work on the slick mound.
''That's up to me. If I'm slipping, I have to say something,'' May said. ''Unfortunately, I paid for it.''
One out later, Schoop delivered an RBI single.
Rickard tacked on his first big league homer in the eighth for a 4-2 lead. Minutes after rounding the bases, the Rule 5 pickup responded to a curtain call from the modest crowd of 11,142.
The Orioles played without center fielder Adam Jones, who has soreness in his ribcage. Showalter expressed hope that his three-time All-Star would be back in the lineup Friday.
Mauer hit his first homer of the season in the first inning, and the Twins made it 2-0 in the second following an error by first baseman Chris Davis.
Jimenez worked out of a jam in the third after putting runners at the corners with no outs. Hughes did exactly the same thing in the fourth.
Machado homered in the sixth to get the Orioles to 2-1.
DON'T WALK THIS WAY
Twins: Hughes did not allow a walk over six innings, making it the 56th straight start in which he has issued fewer than three free passes.
Orioles: Jimenez was equally effective with his control. Last season, he had three starts of at least seven innings without walking a batter.
Orioles LHP Brian Matusz (strained left ribcage) allowed one run in one inning for Double-A Bowie.
Twins: Opening day starter Ervin Santana takes the mound Friday night in Kansas City, where Minnesota plays three games before launching its home schedule against the White Sox on Monday.
Orioles: RHP Chris Tillman faces the Tampa Bay Rays in Baltimore's first clash within the AL East.