The Minnesota Twins went close to Jorge López for the second straight day against the Orioles, losing 4–3 with a game-tying home run from Jorge Polanco and Jose Miranda’s walk-off single-handed Baltimore.
Entering the ninth inning lead, the Orioles went on to an undefeated 29–0 series, largely due to López’s dominance in that frame. He held onto the mound riding a 15-out scoreless streak on Friday and had not conceded a home run in 37 innings this season, but then scored a two-run walk-off from Byron Buxton on Friday and Polanco’s single shot Saturday. In between, consecutive batsmen were allowed longballs.
“It’s another bad day for me,” Lopez said. “It’s all on me.”
Lopez’s second straight loss – and a fourth straight for the Orioles (35-44) – ruined a strong start from Jordan Lyles, who shut out in the seventh inning. Minnesota placed two in the scoring position against them in the third without an out, Lyles began a run of 13 straight Twins retiring, ending on a home run with one in seventh on Nick Gordon’s 100th pitch.
Gordon accounted for the lone Lopez recorded in the ninth, after Polanco’s homer knocked him out. Alex Kiriloff then doubled, reaching third on a soft single from Gary Sanchez and scoring the winning run to the left on Miranda’s liner.
A veteran of the Orioles’ pitching staff, Lyles expressed confidence in Lopez despite the rough series.
“He’s been one of the best relievers in baseball, and he has a tough 24 hours,” Lyles said. “It is what it is. That’s what happens during the season. But everyone in this clubhouse has faith in him.
“A week from now, we won’t even discuss it.”
Manager Brandon Hyde said Lopez will not pitch on Sunday when the Orioles try to avoid a sweep and end their 12-game losing streak at Target Field. Prior to the series, López had the second lowest ERA of any pitch, having thrown at least 35 innings, with these two outings more than doubling the score from 0.73 to 1.69. He hasn’t allowed more than six hits in any calendar month this season, but the Twins scored 6-for-7 against him in the first two games of July.
Hyde said, ‘He had an incredible performance in the first half. “He probably hasn’t made a bad pitch for the whole half, and he’s just had two tough games. It’s gonna happen.
“It’s part of pitching in the back end of a ‘pen.’
lyles works deep
Lyle said he wasn’t thinking too much about getting to the start to get the team back on track after Friday’s hard loss. He was more concerned about when his outing might actually begin, with the game delayed by nearly an hour due to rain in Minneapolis.
Once that was done, he worked around the opening trouble, trapping two runners in both the second and third innings. But as the veteran right-hander got a better feel for his slider, he came in. Liles’ streak of 13 straight outs began in the third inning when he retired after applying two to four hitters from Buxton, Carlos Correa and Max Kepler, Minnesota. Two in the scoring position with no outs. Lyles had some help in the fourth from Anthony Santander, who leapt over the left-field wall en route to his third straight start of more than six innings.
“He goes out every fifth day and gives him everything he has,” Hyde said before the game. “It’s great to see the youngsters how he posts every fifth day, and he’s really told to move on for a day or two, just because he really wants the ball and he wants to help. When Jordan is on the mound, you know you’ll get a professional start. You’re going to get a ton of strikes. He’s going to challenge the hitters. He’s going to be extremely competitive. That’s what he’s given us this year, He is someone who takes the ball and pitches to win every time.”
Felix Bautista moved a similar position in eighth to Liles’ third. Dylan Tate took the seventh of Lyles before allowing a single and double for Buxton to place runners in second and third. Bautista dismissed him on a pitch tracked at 100.9 mph, more than three times over 100 in his outing as Correa hit a sacrificial fly and was hit by Kepler. It threw 56 pitches at speeds of 100 mph or more in its rookie season, twice the amount all other Orioles have thrown since pitch tracking began in 2008.
Korea’s sacrificial fly reduced the Orioles’ lead to 3-2. Before Gordon’s home run, the Orioles took a three-run lead thanks to an RBI double from Tyler Nevin in second, Anthony Santander’s 15th home run in third and Jorge Mateo’s sacrificial flight to score Rogue Odor in fourth. Hyde lamented not adding to his team.
“We’re having a tough time right now,” Hyde said. “We are not scoring a ton. The ball has to be put into play more.”
around the horn
>> Infielder Ramon Ureas (left oblique strain) began a rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie on Saturday.
>> Right-hander Kyle Braddish, on a 15-day injury list with a swelling of the right shoulder, will bowl the bullpen on Sunday.
Orioles @ Twins
Sunday, 2:10 pm
radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM