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BALTIMORE—The Orioles were on the verge of being swept in a three-game series for the first time since May 13th-15th, 2022 and losing five straight games.
They’d scored just one run and had nine hits through seven innings and trailed the Minnesota Twins, their longtime tormentors, by a run.
A two-run eighth capped by Jordan Westburg’s bases-loaded hit-by-pitch gave the Orioles a 2-1 win over the Twins before an announced crowd of 16,299 at Camden Yards on Sunday.
With one out, Adley Rutschman reached on an infield single against Jhoan Duran (2-3). Anthony Santander and Aaron Hicks singled. Rutschman scored on Hicks’ single.
Cedric Mullins grounded to first with Santander and Hicks moving up a base. Pinch-hitter Ryan O’Hearn was intentionally walked, and with the bases loaded, Westburg was hit on his left hand and Santander scored.
“Anything for a win, feeling all right now,” Westburg said. “My whole goal coming into that at-bat was do anything to get that run across and help the team get a win. If I had to take a hit-by-pitch, that’s fine.”
After losing the last two games of a three-game series against Cincinnati and the first two against Minnesota, manager Brandon Hyde did feel some relief.
“Runs have been tough to come by the last couple of days,” Hyde said. “Sometimes it just starts with a swinging bunt single … Hopefully, that can get us going offensively.”
Relief pitcher Cionel Pérez (2-1) pitched a spotless eighth, and closer Félix Bautista struck out all three Twins hitters in the ninth for his 22nd save.
Oriole starting pitcher Cole Irvin allowed one run on six hits in five innings. Willi Castro’s fifth -nning double scored Byron Buxton for Minnesota’s only run.
“This is a grinder of a win,” Irvin said. “I think we needed that going into a four-game series in New York.”
Irvin was fortunate to escape trailing by just one run. The Twins (42-43) loaded the bases in the first inning. Irvin struck out Ryan Jeffers for the third out but was helped when Mullins made a wonderful leaping catch on Byron Buxton’s fly to right-center. Buxton tipped his helmet to Mullins.
“He’s made so many great ones. It’s hard to top what he’s done before,” Hyde said. “Just an amazing catch.”
On Saturday, leftfielder Austin Hays took an extra-base hit away from Buxton with a diving catch in left.
Twins starter Sonny Gray allowed just two hits in six innings. Anthony Bemboom singled with two outs in the third and Ramón Urías doubled, leading off the fifth.
The Orioles (49-33) loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth, but Mullins, who is hitless in 15 at-bats, struck out.
Hays left the game after three innings. In the second, he collided with Minnesota first baseman Donovan Solano after he grounded to third. He has a bruised left hip.
Hicks, who replaced Hays, was 2-for-26 before the RBI single.
“I feel like we’ve been hitting the ball hard and just not getting results and struggling scoring runs,” Hicks said. “Sometimes you need to scratch out ones like this to get you going.”
Notes: The Orioles’ bullpen retired each of the 12 batters it faced. Bryan Baker pitched two perfect innings before Pérez and Bautista threw spotless innings. … The Orioles begin a four-game series with the New York Yankees on Monday night. Tyler Wells (6-4, 3.21) will face Domingo Germán (5-5, 4.54). German threw a perfect game against Oakland in his last start.
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