MINNEAPOLIS — Felix Jorge is back in the major leagues a bit sooner than expected.
The Minnesota Twins hope he can provide another good spot start as they look to continue their strong play Friday night against the Baltimore Orioles.
Jorge, a 23-year-old right-hander, officially will be recalled from the minors Friday to start for Minnesota following his successful debut on the road last week at Kansas City.
Jorge (1-0, 5.40 ERA) was added as the 26th man for the second game of a doubleheader Saturday, meaning the rookie was sent right back to Double-A Chattanooga after winning his first major league game.
“I was down there thinking, ‘I wonder if they’re going to call me back or not?'” Jorge said Thursday as he rejoined the Twins. “I was just getting ready to not only help my team down there but also be ready for here. Sure enough, I got the call.”
Minnesota needed another starter with Hector Santiago going on the disabled list due to a back ailment.
Baltimore will counter Friday with right-hander Kevin Gausman (5-7, 5.61 ERA).
After trying out three journeymen in spot starts earlier this season without much success, the team dipped into Double-A to add Jorge, one of its better pitching prospects. He allowed three runs on seven hits in five innings of a 10-5 victory over the Royals.
“We told him when he left, ‘You never know when your next chance might come.’ Sure enough, it’s six days,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Stuff was good, I think composure was really good. You give up a couple right out of the chute and you find a way to put up some zeros, and getting yourself a win in your debut on the road against a team that’s playing really well.
“It was a nice lift for us, given the fact that some of the times we’ve had to dip down, we’ve struggled. So, he stepped up for us.”
Minnesota would like for Jorge to continue the team’s surprise starting performances this week.
The Twins (44-41) have had a starter pitch at least six innings in each of the past four games. As a result, Minnesota won three of the four games, including a 6-4 victory over the Orioles on Thursday in the opener of the four-game series.
Even so, the Twins are tied for the fewest home wins in the American League.
“We talked to each other talking about how we need to come out on this homestand and come out strong,” said Minnesota center fielder Byron Buxton, who has three consecutive multi-hit games. “We’re just going out there battling and having a lot of fun.”
The Orioles (40-45) have lost six of their past seven games. The only victory during that stretch was Gausman’s last start, when he threw seven scoreless innings against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. He gave up two hits and two walks while striking out nine in a 7-1 win.
“That was fun to watch,” manager Buck Showalter said about Gausman after the game. “That was impressive. I thought the seventh inning was the most impressive inning he had. You could tell he was going to carry good stuff. The secondary stuff was really good today. It was probably the best secondary stuff he’s had this year.”
Gausman has thrown 12 1/3 scoreless innings over his past two starts, steadying himself from a poor start to the season.
“I think you only get confidence from success,” Gausman said after his last outing. “You got to have that first. Feel like I’m throwing the ball well right now and just got to keep it going. …
“I had a great second half last year, so obviously looking forward to that and knowing I’m the type of guy that gets better as the season goes on. That’s always good.”
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