The Minnesota Twins recorded a season high in runs (14) and hits (21) in the series opener before benefiting from a sterling pitching performance to become the first team this season to capture a series at Camden Yards. The American League Central-leading Twins vie for their sixth win in seven outings on Wednesday afternoon when they play the finale of the three-game series against the skidding Baltimore Orioles.
Brian Dozier belted a solo homer in Tuesday’s 2-0 triumph to extend his hit streak to five games and his run-scoring stretch to four contests. The 30-year-old has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games for the Twins, who are 10-2 in their last 12 away from Target Field. Baltimore, which has dropped nine of its last 12 overall, boasted the majors’ best home mark before dropping the last three contests entering the finale of its six-game homestand. The Orioles were limited to just two hits in a complete-game gem by Ervin Santana on Tuesday and will face a tall task against Wednesday starter Jose Berrios, who has yielded just one run in two starts this season.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Jose Berrios (2-0, 0.59 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Chris Tillman (1-0, 3.52)
Berrios answered a sterling season debut with an even better performance on Thursday, scattering two hits and striking out a career-high 11 in 7 2/3 innings of a 2-0 triumph over Colorado. The 22-year-old’s double-digit strikeout performance was just Minnesota’s eighth since 2011. Berrios has permitted just four hits in 15 1/3 frames this season after posting a bloated 8.02 ERA in 14 starts in 2016, becoming the 12th pitcher to make at least that many starts and finish with an ERA north of 8.00.
A 16-game winner in 2016, Tillman received his second straight no-decision on Friday despite recording his first quality start of the season. The 29-year-old overcame a three-run third to work six strong innings against Toronto for his longest stint of the campaign since opening the season on the disabled list with shoulder bursitis. Tillman traditionally hasn’t fared well versus Minnesota, posting an 0-4 mark with a 4.50 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in seven career starts with Joe Mauer going 3-for-10 against him.
1. Minnesota DH Kennys Vargas, who is batting .381 in six career games versus Baltimore, is 5-for-11 with one homer and three RBIs during his four-game hitting streak.
2. Orioles 2B Jonathan Schoop has hit safely in both outings in this series and five of his last seven contests overall.
3. Twins RHP Phil Hughes (right biceps inflammation) is expected to undergo more tests on Wednesday after being placed on the disabled list Monday.
PREDICTION: Orioles 4, Twins 2