Jepsen falters, Twins’ skid hits 6 in a row with loss to O’s

Published 8:44 am Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Kevin Jepsen had no problem with the first two Baltimore Orioles hitters in the ninth inning.

Then he lost the handle on his breaking ball, and the Minnesota Twins lost yet another game.

Jepsen’s wild pitch moved runners to second and third, and a slumping Adam Jones delivered the go-ahead single to lift the Orioles to a 5-3 victory over the skidding Twins on Tuesday night.

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Jepsen (2-4) lost a long battle when Joey Rickard doubled, intentionally walked streaking Manny Machado and then didn’t trust his curveball against Jones, who had been chasing pitches out of the zone all night. Jones hit a line drive to left field that Oswaldo Arcia couldn’t handle, and the Twins lost their sixth straight game.

“I’ve got to get that third out,” Jepsen said. “That’s just the bottom line.”

Jones also hit a towering home run earlier in the game and Machado went 3 for 3 with a homer and two walks for the first-place Orioles. Zach Britton picked up his eighth save.

Trevor Plouffe homered and drove in three runs for the Twins. Jose Berrios gave up three runs on eight hits and struck out six in five innings.

“I continue to look for light,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “If I don’t keep that optimism about my team and what we can do over the next 130 games, I don’t want to start getting into the conversations about long summers and this and that. There’s just too much baseball.”

Chris Davis had three hits, Matt Wieters added two hits and an RBI, and Kevin Gausman allowed three runs on five hits and struck out nine in six innings for Baltimore. Darren O’Day (2-0) got the win.

The series opener on Monday was postponed with bad weather looming in the area, a much-needed break for the Twins after an awful road trip dropped their record to an AL-worst 8-23.

“I was pleased we at least came out and competed a little better than I thought we have been of late,” Molitor said.

The Twins sent Berrios, their prized prospect who has been up and down in his first stint with the team, to the mound hoping for a long outing. But once again, his pitch count ran high in the early innings and the Orioles got to him in the fifth.

Jones was in a 3-for-26 skid over the last seven games when he followed Machado’s homer with a 443-foot drive over the bullpen in center field to give the Orioles a 3-1 lead. It was just his second homer of the season and first since April 16.


Mauer on top

Joe Mauer made his first career appearance in the leadoff spot for the Twins, with Molitor looking to shake up an offense that is struggling to score. Mauer leads the American League in on-base percentage, and Molitor is hoping his consistency could provide more scoring opportunities.

Mauer went 0 for 3 with a walk and two strikeouts in his debut.


Makeup dates

The Orioles have already had four games postponed this season. Monday’s game against the Twins has been rescheduled for July 28, with the first pitch at 6:10 p.m. CDT.

Baltimore’s postponed game against Tampa Bay from April 9 will now be played as part of a day-night doubleheader at home on June 25. The first game will start at 1:05 p.m. EDT.


Trainer’s room

Orioles: RHP Brad Bach took a hot shot from Danny Santana off his right thigh in the seventh inning, but was able to remain in the game.

Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (right shoulder strain) threw a bullpen and is scheduled to throw another on Friday. He appears on track to return when his 15 days on the disabled list are up. … Minnesota closer Glen Perkins (left shoulder strain) is starting to play catch, but he’s still not close to returning. He has been on the disabled list since April 13.



Up next

The Twins will send RHP Phil Hughes (1-5, 5.85 ERA) to the mound for the finale against RHP Tyler Wilson (1-1, 3.04). Hughes lasted just two innings in his last start, his shortest outing since 2013. Wilson has allowed 20 hits in 23 2/3 innings this season.