Twins can’t get clutch hit in loss to Orioles

Published 9:11 am Thursday, April 7, 2016

BALTIMORE — Winless after two games, the Minnesota Twins figure it’s only a matter of time before they start playing up to their potential.

Kyle Gibson gave up four runs in five innings, and Minnesota mustered only five hits in a 4-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.

After losing their eighth consecutive opener on Monday, the Twins went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine.

Email newsletter signup

“Just couldn’t get the big hit,” manager Paul Molitor lamented.

The Twins lost their first three games last year and were 1-6 before rebounding to finish 83-79. In other words, they’ve been there before.

“To be honest with you, the group of guys in here, 0-2, we don’t press,” second baseman Brian Dozier said. “We know we’re a very good team.”

Chris Davis homered for Baltimore to back an effective pitching performance by Yovani Gallardo in his Orioles debut.

Davis, the reigning major league home run champ, hit a solo shot to deep center off Gibson (0-1) in the third inning to put the Orioles ahead for good. Davis also scored the winning run in the season opener and is off to a strong start after receiving a $161 million, seven-year contract in January.

Gallardo (1-0) allowed one run and two hits in five innings, striking out four and walking three. The right-hander signed a $22 million, two-year contract in February after pitching for Texas last season.

“I’m excited, after having the opportunity to pitch here last year on the other side of the dugout,” Gallardo said. “It’s a good feeling, the excitement in the stands and having the fans here cheering behind you. It’s a win-win.”

Zach Britton, the last of four Baltimore relievers, struck out the side in the ninth for his first save.

Trevor Plouffe homered and Byron Buxton hit two doubles for the Twins, 0-2 against the Orioles this year after sweeping the seven-game season series last year.

Gibson walked five and allowed seven hits — at least one in each of his five innings.

“It’s a little frustrating,” he said. “You never want to start the season like that.”

The temperature at game time was 48 degrees. Many of the fans wore winter coats, gloves and wool hats. Attendance was announced at 12,622 compared to 45,785 on opening day.

Gibson allowed three hits and two walks in the first two innings but trailed only 1-0 after working out of jams in each inning.

“Tonight, my curveball was just all right and my slider wasn’t very good at all,” Gibson said. “It was a battle for five innings for really having only two pitches.”

Minnesota used a sacrifice fly by Joe Mauer to pull even in the third, but Davis countered in the bottom half with a long drive on a 1-2 pitch.

The Orioles went up 3-1 in the third when J.J. Hardy doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Joey Rickard, the rookie’s first career RBI.

After Matt Wieters hit an RBI double in the fifth, Plouffe connected off Mychal Givens in the sixth.



Twins: Ervin Santana has been moved up to Friday from Sunday after his start on opening day was cut short by rain. Tommy Milone will start Saturday and Ricky Nolasco will go Sunday.

Orioles: Chris Tillman will start Friday against Tampa Bay after pitching only two innings of the opener. Tyler Wilson is scheduled to start Saturday.



Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman (shoulder) is slated to start for Double-A Bowie on Saturday. LHP Brian Matusz (ribcage) will throw for Bowie on Thursday and Friday. He could come off the DL on Sunday.



Twins: Phil Hughes makes his 21st career start against the Orioles in the series finale Thursday night. He’s 8-5 lifetime vs. Baltimore.

Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez starts for Baltimore. He threw five shutout innings in his only start against the Twins last season.