Cashner to make first start for Orioles vs. Twins
BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles had a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday on a game-winning homer by Adam Jones in the 11th inning on Opening Day.
Now, Baltimore is looking to ride that momentum on Saturday behind right-hander Andrew Cashner, who was signed as a free agent in February after going 11-11 with Texas last season. Cashner, however, is 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA in three career starts against Minnesota, and all three starts came last season.
"You've got to win, what, 99 more? Every year I've been here except for one, 90 got you in the playoffs," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Our guys want to win the division. They want to try, obviously, to get a toe-hold, there's 161 more."
The Orioles' new-look lineup had mixed results in the opener.
Chris Davis, who hit 111 homers over the past three years, went 0-for-4 with a strikeout batting leadoff for the first time in the regular season. Davis became the third first baseman to lead off on Opening Day in the last 20 years. However, he might move down in the lineup Saturday.
"Something that everybody felt like was a good way to start," Showalter said about Davis. "Chris is a very important part of our club potentially and you hope this kind of helps him. Sometimes, you've got to give a new toy, something that signifies a new start."
Jones batted fourth and had the biggest hit of the day. Designated hitter Mark Trumbo might take over that spot when he returns from the disabled list with a quad strain.
The Twins are hoping the season-opening loss to the Orioles is not a bad omen. In 2016, Minnesota also lost to Baltimore in the opener and proceeded to lose the next eight games.
However, there are some encouraging signs.
Jake Odorizzi was stellar in his Twins debut and allowed just two just hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over six scoreless innings.
"Hopefully this game was a good confidence booster," Odorizzi said. "It (stinks) we couldn't pull it out, but we put up a good effort."
Kyle Gibson, who is 2-2 with a 5.89 ERA in seven career starts against Baltimore, will start Saturday. Gibson moved up in the rotation because Ervin Santana is out with an injured finger. Phil Hughes is also on the 10-day disabled list with an oblique strain.
Gibson went 12-10 with a 5.07 ERA last season, and he was 1-1 with a 13.00 ERA in two starts against Baltimore in 2017.
Despite the spirited win, the Orioles already have some early concerns with reliever Brad Brach, who was given the closer role in place of the injured Zach Britton (Achilles). Brach could not hold down a two-run lead in the ninth Thursday against the Twins as pinch hitter Robbie Grossman tied the game with a bloop, two-run single. Britton could return from the 60-day DL in early June.
Minnesota also had some bullpen troubles.
Newly signed left-handed reliever Zach Duke struck out four batters in the seventh inning, but allowed a two-run triple to Caleb Joseph. Fernando Rodney also faltered in his debut, allowing the game-winning homer to Jones. Rodney is ready to shake off the rough start and refocus.
"I think it's no big deal," Rodney said. "We played hard for 11 innings. When you play 11 innings and play as hard as we did and lose by one run, it's no big deal. You don't want to lose, but it's part of the game sometimes."
Updated March 30, 2018