Twins rally to game, series win at Baltimore
Pedro Hernandez was just trying to stay calm when he was called up by Minnesota for an emergency start Sunday against the Orioles after right-hander Cole De Vries was forced to go on the disabled list.
Manager Ron Gardenhire even jokingly asked if Hernandez wanted a picture taken while he was signing his major-league contract. Hernandez politely declined and kept a steadfast focus on shutting down the Orioles.
Hernandez delivered by allowing three runs and four hits with three strikeouts and three walks in five innings. The Twins' bullpen did the rest, shutting down Baltimore's powerful attack in a 4-3 victory.
The Twins also beat the Orioles 3-2 on Saturday and won their first series in Baltimore since taking three of four games in July 2010.
"It was good ballgame for us," Gardenhire said. "Three really good games here against a very good baseball team. We had some who made some really big pitches and we got some big hits at the end there. There was a lot of excitement in the dugout."
Glenn Perkins picked up his second consecutive save for the Twins.
The Orioles' Jason Hammel (1-1) was not as sharp as his season-opening victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, but he also kept the Orioles in the game. He gave up four runs and four hits with three strikeouts and three walks in 6 2/3 innings for a no-decision.
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones had his fourth consecutive multi-hit game, going 2 for 4 with a double. Shortstop J.J. Hardy hit his second homer of the season. Nick Markakis also picked up two hits and was 8 for 13 in the series.
Twins first baseman Justin Morneau continued to break out of his early RBI slump by knocking in two more runs.
Trailing 3-2 in the seventh, the Twins tied the score on a sacrifice fly by Chris Parmelee and then took their first lead on an RBI single by rookie center fielder Aaron Hicks, who snapped an 0-for-13 skid.
"I was just trying to get a pitch to drive," said Hicks, who also picked up his second major-league hit and RBI. "I got a pitch where I was able to squeak it through and get it over the guy's head. As long I get the RBI it, that's what matters."
The Orioles threatened again in the seventh with runners on first and second, but Twins left-handed reliever Brian Duensing got Chris Davis to ground out to second to end the inning.
Hernandez was activated Sunday after De Vries was placed on the 15-day DL with a right forearm strain. He gave up a two-run homer to J.J. Hardy and an RBI single to Nick Markakis in the second as the Orioles jumped out to a 3-0 lead. He then settled down and did not allow another run.
"I feel really good right now ," said Hernandez, who made one other major-league start for the White Sox. "I feel fantastic for this opportunity and to get a chance in the major leagues. You have to stay focused on the strike zone."
Staked with the early lead, Hammel promptly loaded the bases in the third after he walked two and hit Josh Willingham.
It appeared he would get out of the inning when Morneau popped up to center field, but the ball fell between Jones and Nolan Reimold, allowing Mauer and Pedro Florimon to score.
"He'd have a real good, crisp inning, and then he had a couple hit by pitches, two or three walks," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He should have been through six scoreless except for the sun. But that's not going away. We just weren't able to overcome it. We had some people out there, just couldn't get a hit. Hits were at a premium today."
Jones had a much more blunt assessment: "It was my mistake. I have to catch that ball."
NOTES: The Twins optioned left-handed reliever Tyler Robertson to triple-A Rochester and reinstated righty Anthony Swarzak from the 15-day disabled list. ... Robertson allowed a go-ahead grand slam to Davis in the first game of the series. ... Morneau tied Torii Hunter on the Twins' career list for doubles with 259. ... The Twins got a break when Orioles catcher Matt Wieters got the day off after throwing out both Aaron Hicks and Eduardo Escobar trying to steal Saturday, prompting Gardenhire to jokingly say, "We're never, ever running again here in Baltimore." ... Orioles designated hitter Steve Pearce, second baseman Alexi Casilla and catcher Taylor Teagarden each made their first starts of the season. ... Orioles third baseman Wilson Betemit was back in Baltimore to see team doctors after exploratory arthroscopic surgery on his injured right knee showed no further damage. "The news we got back was as good as we could expect," Showalter said. Betemit plans to return to Sarasota, Fla., on Wednesday to continue his rehab and could miss six to eight weeks with the ligament tear. ... Canadian singer/songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen threw out the first pitch.
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