BALTIMORE – While most of the attention was on the two trades the Orioles pulled off on Saturday night, there was still a ballgame for them to win, and on a night that Chris Tillman wasn’t particularly sharp, they again scratched out another win.
Adam Jones hustled home from third on a fly ball from shallow left-center in the seventh inning and gave the Orioles a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins before 30,322 at Oriole Park on Saturday night.
With the score tied at 2, Jones was hit by a pitch by Jared Burton (2-3) with one out in the seventh, and he advanced to third on a single by Nelson Cruz. Chris Davis hit a short fly ball to center that Danny Santana fielded on the run. Jones easily scored to give the Orioles (78-56) a 3-2 lead.
“I was confident that the way the center fielder had to catch the ball that he had a chance,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Chris has been in the middle of a lot of things lately.”
Andrew Miller (5-5) pitched one scoreless inning for the win. Zach Britton worked the ninth for his 30th save.
“Just trying to be a part of the wins. We're not reading too much into what we're doing individually. I think that's why we're so successful,” Britton said.
It’s the 14th season of 30 saves in club history.
“That's a product of getting a lot of opportunities, too. It's good. We're playing close games. Our offense is getting just enough runs to where the pitching can go in there and shut them down. That's kind of what we've been doing the whole season,” Britton said.
The win puts the Orioles a season-high 22 games over. 500 and eight games ahead of New York in the American League East.
Tillman was in trouble in each of the first four innings. He allowed a single and walk to his first two batters, Santana and Brian Dozier in the first, then retired the next three. Kurt Suzuki had a one-out double in the second.
In the third, he allowed two hits and a walk, but again skated through, and in the fourth, nearly got out of it quickly, but Jonathan Schoop dropped a relay from J.J. Hardy on a possible double play. With runners on first and third with one out, Tillman got Jordan Schafer to pop out to Hardy and blew a fastball past Santana to end the fourth.
“You’re going to have those ones where you’ve got to battle all the way through and tonight was one of those nights,” Tillman said
Tillman allowed a run on six hits in five innings, walking three and striking out six.
“I look at outings like that, and I go, ‘he gave up one run.’…I don’t know if he could have done that two years ago, got through that. That was a challenge for him. I’m not saying a struggle, a struggle you give up a lot more runs. He made key pitches when he had to, and all that stuff, but there are times when I step away from games like tonight when I’m as proud of that type of outing and keeping us engaged as you are when they’re pretty much flawless, you know?” Showalter said.
The Orioles had runners on first and second with one out in the first, but couldn’t score. They didn’t score in the fourth with two runners on and one out. In the fourth, Davis walked and Hardy singled off Kyle Gibson. Jimmy Paredes hit a ground-rule double to score Davis, but even though the Orioles had second and third with one out, the runners stayed there.
Nick Hundley lined to third, Schoop struck out and Nick Markakis grounded to first.
Minnesota tied it in the fifth. Joe Mauer walked with one out. He moved to third on Kennys Vargas’ single and scored on Oswaldo Acia’s fly ball.
Paredes homered in the bottom of the sixth off Brian Duensing to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead.
Minnesota (59-76) tied the score at 2 in the seventh on a single by Dozier, a wild pitch by Miller and an RBI single by Mauer.
Britton found out about the acquisitions of Alejandro De Aza and Kelly Johnson after the game.
“Anybody who can help us win and fill a role here and there for us is going to be huge. And that's what we've been doing. We have guys off the bench that can fill a need, and hopefully the two guys we bring in will do just that,” Britton said.
NOTES: The bullpen allowed its first run after 19 scoreless innings. … Darren O’Day has allowed one earned run in his last 27 games. … On Sunday, Wei-Yin Chen (13-4, 3.76) faces Ricky Nolasco (5-9, 5.62).
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