The Baltimore Orioles were swept in the season series by the Minnesota Twins last year. They’ve given themselves an opportunity for the best kind of revenge.
The Orioles look to remain perfect against the Twins on Wednesday in the finale of a rain-shortened two-game series.
There were a multitude of reasons for Baltimore’s disappointing 81-81 record last season, but seven losses in seven games versus Minnesota surely didn’t help.
The Orioles opened this season with a three-game sweep of the Twins and made it four wins in four tries with a 5-3 victory Tuesday after Monday’s scheduled opener was postponed. Slumping Adam Jones hit a 443-foot homer and delivered a tiebreaking two-run single in the ninth inning to help Baltimore (19-12) end a five-game losing streak at Target Field.
“That’s a lot of frustration out in one swing,” manager Buck Showalter said of Jones’ first homer since April 16. ”That was a lot of pent up, I can tell you that.”
Jones was in a 3-for-26 skid over the last seven games and had seen his average fall to .196.
”As long as we keep winning, it doesn’t really matter how it goes as long as the team wins,” Jones said. ”That’s the main objective, the main goal. I’m a team guy, I’m not an I, I, I person. I’m just for the team.”
Manny Machado and Jones hit back-to-back homers in the fifth, giving the Orioles nine in the past three games. Machado went 3 for 3 with two walks to raise his average to .365.
He’s 8 for 15 with three home runs and seven RBIs in his last four contests, and could be poised for another big day against Phil Hughes. Machado is 10 for 19 with two homers against the struggling right-hander.
Tuesday could also mark breakouts for two other slumping Orioles hitters. Chris Davis had three hits following a 1-for-21 stretch, and Matt Wieters was 2 for 4 after entering 5 for 35 in his previous 10 games.
Trevor Plouffe had a two-run homer and three RBIs for the AL-worst Twins (8-24), losers of six straight and 10 of 11. They’ve been outscored 47-18 during the six-game skid with their starters posting an 8.28 ERA.
Hughes (1-5, 5.85 ERA) has played a role in that, allowing six runs over two innings in a 16-4 loss at Houston last Wednesday in his shortest start since 2013.
”It’s just one of those days where I wasn’t locating at all and a bunch of bad counts,” Hughes said.
He has a 7.71 ERA during a three-start skid and has given up three first-inning runs in two consecutive outings.
Hughes was solid in a 4-2 loss at Baltimore on April 7, yielding three runs over six innings in a 4-2 loss. He’s 2-1 with a 2.36 ERA in four starts against the Orioles as a member of the Twins.
Tyler Wilson (1-1, 3.04) attempts to build on the best of his three 2016 starts, Wednesday’s six-inning stint against the New York Yankees in which he allowed two earned runs and four hits in a 7-0 loss.
The right-hander was originally scheduled to pitch Monday but had his start pushed back following the postponement.
Wilson threw three scoreless innings against the Twins on April 4 after entering the game in the third following a lengthy rain delay.