After two blown ninth-inning leads, the Orioles’ bullpen helped them end a four-game losing streak and secure a .500 record on their 10-game road trip with a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
Dillon Tate stepped into the closer’s role in the ninth because Jorge López was unavailable after pitching the ninth on Friday and Saturday and giving up the lead in both games. Tate fell behind the first hitter, Max Kepler, 3-and-0, before getting a ground-ball out and then struck out Kyle Garlick and Gary Sánchez.
Tate’s 1-2-3 ninth followed a solid effort by Joey Krehbiel, but the strongest performance was by Oriole starter Tyler Wells, who made three solo home runs by the Orioles stand up.
Wells threw six innings, allowing a run on three hits. He walked one and set a career high with seven strikeouts. Wells (7-4) has won five consecutive starts. In his last four, he has allowed only three runs on 12 hits in 22 innings for a 1.23 earned-run average.
Keegan Akin was removed after recording two outs in the seventh but allowing a one-out single to Garlick and walking Alex Kiriloff. Gilberto Celestino grounded out against Krehbiel, who completed a hitless eighth.
Tate earned his second save with a spotless ninth.
The Orioles’ offense scored just eight runs in this series but had a chance for a sweep. López, who had been dominant, couldn’t protect one-run leads on Friday and Saturday. Before Friday, the Orioles had won the 29 games they led after eight innings.
Rougned Odor, Trey Mancini and Ryan Mountcastle each hit home runs to account for the Orioles’ runs. Odor’s home run came in the fifth, his eighth. Mancini and Mountcastle homered on consecutive pitches in the sixth.
It was Mancini’s eighth and Mountcastle’s 13th home run. The Orioles have hit back-to home runs eight times this season. Mountcastle has been involved in four and Mancini in three.
Twins starter Devin Smeltzer (4-2) allowed all three home runs.
The Orioles (36-44) finished their second and final 10-game road trip with a 5-5 record, winning three of four in Chicago and losing two of three in Seattle and Minnesota.
Their four-game losing streak was their longest since a six-game skid from May 13th-18th. Their win at Target Field breaks a 12-game losing streak. Their last win in Minneapolis came on July 9th, 2017.
Notes: The Orioles will reach the halfway point of the season on Monday when they play the Texas Rangers at 1:05 p.m. at Camden Yards. Dean Kremer (2-1, 1.29) will face Dane (1-6, 4.09). The first 15,000 fans 15-and-over will receive a Hot Dog Race T-Shirt. … On Tuesday, Austin Voth (0-1, 7.34) will start for the Orioles; Texas hasn’t named its starter. Spenser Watkins (1-1, 4.61) and Greg Otto (4-4, 5.63) are scheduled for Wednesday. … In the second half of the season, the Orioles have no scheduled road trip longer than seven games.