BALTIMORE -- Ryan Jeffers hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the sixth inning and the surging Minnesota Twins defeated the Baltimore Orioles 7-2 Tuesday night for their fourth straight victory.
The Twins have won 12 of 13 to move six games over .500 (15-9) and into first place in the AL Central, which does not have another team with a winning record. Minnesota has outscored the opposition 63-25 during its 13-game run, including 25-7 during its current four-game win streak.
Good hitting and solid pitching has played a part. So has the team's confidence and poise.
“You can definitely see it, and you see it everywhere you look,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “You expect someone to come through and get the job done.”
Jeffers was that person on this night, immediately after the Orioles tied the game at 2 in the bottom of the fifth.
Gary Sanchez hit a one-out double off Joey Krehbiel (1-3), Trevor Larnich walked and Jeffers followed with a drive over the center-field wall. He has three home runs this season, all in his last seven games.
“Drove in some runs all in one swing,” Baldelli said, “which is always nice to see with Ryan.”
Minnesota pulled away with a two-run ninth that featured an RBI double by Byron Buxton.
Twins starter Joe Ryan gave up two runs, six hits and a walk in 4 2/3 innings.
“I didn't have my best stuff, not my sharpest stuff,” Ryan acknowledged.
The right-hander was followed by Caleb Thielbar (1-0), the first of three Minnesota relievers.
Trey Mancini had two hits and an RBI for the last-place Orioles, who have dropped seven of nine. Bruce Zimmermann worked five innings for Baltimore, allowing two runs and four hits.
“Definitely didn’t have the command that I’ve had so far this year throughout the start,” Zimmermann said. “Thought I was pretty crisp through the first three and then it kind of got away from me a little bit in the fourth and the fifth."
Minnesota went up 1-0 in the fourth inning when Zimmermann issued a two-out walk and José Miranda followed with a double to center, his first major league hit and RBI.
Miranda, a cousin of “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, is a 23-year-old infielder and the team's minor league player of the year in 2021. He was 0 for 4 in his debut Monday.
Ryan entered the bottom half with a chance to extend his run of consecutive scoreless innings to 21, a Twins record for a rookie starter. But Austin Hays led off with an infield hit, took third on a double by Rougned Odor and scored when shortstop Carlos Correa mishandled a grounder.
Jorge Polanco hit an RBI single in top of the fifth, and Trey Mancini did the same in the Orioles' half.
But Baltimore managed only seven hits and went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
“We’ve got to make a little bit more contact as a club," manager Brandon Hyde said. "We’re just not taking enough good at-bats to win games against good clubs and good pitching staffs.”
CORREA FLASHES GLOVE, BAT
Correa made a fine over-the-shoulder catch and had a pair of hits. He's 13 for 27 in his last six games and leads the club with seven multihit games.
GOOD SEATS AVAILABLE
Attendance was announced at 6,678 after Monday night's series opener drew a meager crowd of 7,427. This, despite the promotion offering tickets at 1992 prices to mark the 30-year anniversary of the opening of Camden Yards.
Twins: INF Miguel Sanó will undergo surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee. The procedure will take place later this week, and Baldelli says there is no timetable for his return. The injury while Sanó was celebrating with teammates after a win over Detroit. ... RHP Sonny Gray (hamstring) will make at least one more rehab start before the team decides if he's ready to return. He went on the IL on April 17. ... RF Max Kepler left the game with an illness.
Orioles: 3B Tyler Nevin left in the sixth inning with right groin soreness. ... Mancini (bruised ribs) returned from a three-day absence.
Twins: RHP Dylan Bundy (3-1, 2.95 ERA) faces his former team Wednesday night for the second time since being traded to the Angels in December 2019. He gave up a run in 1 1/3 innings at Camden Yards with LA in August 2021.
Orioles: RHP Kyle Bradish (0-1, 3.00) makes his second major league appearance. In his debut, he allowed two earned runs over six innings against the Red Sox on Friday night.
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