The Baltimore Orioles, a team that is nearly 40 games under .500, limped into Target Field on Thursday and lost. And that’s exactly what the doctor ordered for the Twins, who snapped a six-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory. It wasn’t a blowout win, but I’m sure the Twins will take it after they went 1-8 during a recent nine-game road trip.
The 6-foot-10 Aaron Slegers was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to make the start on Thursday, and he limited the lowly birds to one run over six innings to pick up his first win of the season. Reliever Addison Reed gave up an additional run, but Trevor Hildenberger and Fernando Rodney held the line after that. Rodney also struck out two to earn his 18th save of the season.
For a change of pace, the bottom of the order had eight of the Twins’ nine hits, including a 3-for-3 night for center fielder Jake Cave. Max Kepler also had two hits, as did Logan Morrison, including his 10th home run of the season. Despite going 2-for-4, Morrison is still hitting .194.
Lance Lynn gets the ball Friday.
-At the start of the nine-game road trip, I had predicted the Twins would finish at 5-4. Well, that blew up on me, but they still have a chance to turn that 1-8 road trip into an 8-8 record after 16 games. How do they do that? Sweep the Orioles and Royals over the next seven games.
-Much like my lament about the state of the AL Central, it’s also sad to see what the Orioles have become. This is the team of Jim Palmer, Frank Robinson, Boog Powell, Brooks Robinson, Earl Weaver, Mike Cuellar and Cal Ripken Jr. Now, they are 24-62, 34 games out of first place in the AL East. They also are equally bad at home as they are on the road and 1-9 in their last 10 games.
-Speaking of pitcher Cuellar, slugger Harmon Killebrew hit his 500th home run off Cuellar on Aug. 10, 1971. Cuellar, who finished 20-9 in ’71, went on to win 185 games in the majors with a very respectable career ERA of 3.14. Killebrew would go on to hit 573 home runs.