Kepler leads Twins' offensive surge in 14-7 win over Orioles
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
BALTIMORE (AP) The Minnesota Twins appear to be at their best when they take their show on the road.
In their latest performance, the hits just kept on coming.
Minnesota trailed 5-0 in the second inning and 6-2 entering the fifth before cranking up the offense against Ubaldo Jimenez and an ineffective Baltimore bullpen.
A two-run double by Kepler helped the Twins knot the score in the fifth. Minnesota sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run sixth, and Sano added a two-run homer in the ninth.
Joe Mauer had three hits, two RBIs and scored twice for the Twins, who reached season highs in runs and hits (21).
Because the Twins were coming off a long trip halfway across the country after splitting a doubleheader with Kansas City at home on Sunday, manager Paul Molitor called it one of the team's biggest wins of the year.
"It's up there, and a lot of factors played into it," Molitor said. "Playing a doubleheader, a late arrival, falling behind 5-0. To find your way back into the game, then winning decisively, it speaks volumes."
With the victory, Minnesota improved its record on the road to 12-5 compared to 11-13 at Target Field. This one involved a comeback against a team that came into the game with a 15-4 mark at home.
"Baseball is unpredictable," Kepler said. "If you have a team that never stops grinding and keeps fighting, it's bound to happen at times."
It was his 125th home run at Camden Yards, moving Jones out of a tie with Rafael Palmeiro for the most in the history of the 26-year-old ballpark.
That proved to be the highlight of an otherwise ugly night for the Orioles.
"It's just a loss," Jones said. "It's not the end of the world."
Jimenez frittered away a five-run lead and missed a chance to earn his first win since April 19. The right-hander allowed six runs and nine hits in four-plus innings, a performance that raised his ERA to an unsightly 7.17.
"They just came out swinging," Jimenez said. "It was one of those nights where everything you threw, they just found a way to put a good at-bat on it and find a hole."
Well, more than a few of those hits found the outfield gap. And in Kepler's case, the center-field seats .
"There are some days when the offense clicks and everyone rakes," Kepler said.
Jimenez was replaced by Tyler Wilson (2-2), who gave up six runs in 1 1/3 innings.
Down 5-0, the Twins got an RBI groundout from Mauer in the third before Kepler led off the fourth with a home run.
It was 6-2 before Minnesota bunched together five hits in the fifth. After Kepler chased Jimenez with a two-run double, Eduardo Escobar hit a sacrifice fly and Polanco tied it with an RBI single.
Highlights of the Twins' sixth inning included a tiebreaking double by Mauer, a two-run double by Escobar, an error by second baseman Jonathan Schoop and a run-scoring balk when Stefan Crichton dropped the ball in the middle of his windup.
Recalled from Triple-A Rochester before the game, Gibson gave up six runs in five innings, but nevertheless earned his first victory in seven starts this season.
Twins: RHP Phil Hughes was examined in Minnesota, where it was determined he has inflammation of the right biceps. He was placed on the disabled list Sunday.
Orioles: RHP Gabriel Ynoa (right hamstring strain) was activated from the 10-day DL and optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. ... INF Ryan Flaherty (right shoulder inflammation) expects to receive a platelet-rich plasma injection on Tuesday and be sidelined two to four weeks. "It hasn't gotten better since spring training," said Flaherty, who went on the disabled list Sunday.
Twins: After losing two of his past three starts, Ervin Santana (6-2, 2.07 ERA) tries to get back on course Wednesday night. He's 4-5 lifetime against Baltimore.
Orioles: Dylan Bundy (5-2, 2.97 ERA) makes his first career start against the Twins. He pitched one scoreless inning of relief against Minnesota last year.
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Updated May 23, 2017