Vargas has 3 hits, 2 RBIs as Twins beat Orioles 9-6

Published 3:13 pm Saturday, July 8, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — Kennys Vargas’ promotion to the majors wasn’t close to being the most talked-about news of the day for the Minnesota Twins. Still, he made sure it wasn’t forgotten.

Hours after being officially recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take disabled list-bound Joe Mauer’s roster spot, Vargas had three hits, including a big two-run double in the fifth inning to help lead the Twins to a 9-6 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.

The day started with closer Brandon Kintzler learning he made his first All-Star team, continued with Mauer being sent to the 10-day DL with a back strain, and took a surprising turn when the Twins announced in the third inning a minor deal for the ageless Bartolo Colon.

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The Orioles were up big by the time Colon’s deal was announced. So Vargas decided to end the night by reminding everyone he was back in town, too.

“It was a good day for him to come back and contribute the way he did,” manager Paul Molitor said.

Trevor Hildenberger (1-0) pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief for his first major-league win as the Twins rallied from a 6-0 hole to send Baltimore to its fifth straight defeat. Vargas’ two-run double off reliever Miguel Castro (1-1) tied the score in the fifth, and Chris Gimenez’s RBI single completed the impressive comeback one batter later.

“We just have to like, battle every pitch, and try and get back in the game, run by run,” Vargas said. “We got those hits at the right moment. That was the key.”

The six-run comeback tied for the second-largest deficit overcome in team history and spoiled what started as a hot-hitting day for a spiraling Orioles team.

“It’s baseball, we all struggle some way or another,” Baltimore slugger Manny Machado said. “We go 0 for 30, pitchers can get rocked all day, it’s just part of the game. This is what we’re going through right now, and it’s just going to make us stronger down the line.”

Machado homered twice and had his second four-hit game of the year. Seth Smith also homered as he and Machado went deep back-to-back to lead off the game against Twins rookie Felix Jorge.

Kintzler pitched the ninth for his American League-best 24th save.

Machado added a three-run shot in the third that quickly put Baltimore up 5-0. Jorge lasted only 2 2/3 innings, allowing six runs and seven hits.

Byron Buxton had an RBI-single and came around to score in the eighth to add some insurance.


Jorge was sent back to Double-A Chattanooga after the game, and Molitor announced Triple-A outfielder Zach Granite was being promoted. Granite was set to play in next week’s Triple-A All-Star game. “I don’t think he’ll mind sacrificing that to be here,” he said.


Orioles starter Kevin Gausman appeared headed for his third win in a row before allowing a leadoff triple to Brian Dozier in the fifth, followed by Robbie Grossman’s double to make it 6-3. Max Kepler chased Gausman with an RBI single after a throwing error by Machado at third allowed Miguel Sano to reach and set the stage for Vargas. “I wanted to be the guy to kind of right the ship, turn us around tonight and then have two more games of this series,” Gausman said.


Orioles: 1B Chris Davis (oblique) took batting practice and fielded grounders before the game, and manager Buck Showalter said he could potentially be activated next Friday. Showalter said Davis would begin a minor-league rehab assignment on Monday, and hopefully take part in a post-All Star workout next Thursday.

Twins: Mauer (lower back strain) was placed on the 10-day DL, retroactive to Wednesday. The Twins hope the short stint combined with the All-Star break minimizes time missed. Molitor said he hoped Mauer could be ready for next Saturday’s game at Houston. … LHP Hector Santiago (back pain) is undergoing rehab but isn’t throwing yet. An MRI showed no structural damage.


Kintzler learned he was named to his first All-Star team, as a replacement, Friday morning during a phone call with Molitor. “I thought I was getting traded for something,” he said of the call. Kintzler has made the most of his time since taking over Glen Perkins’ closer role last season. “My main focus was trying to get my career back on track. I didn’t care about what role it was, it just happened to be that role.”


Orioles: LHP Wade Miley tries to bounce back from his 1 2/3 innings performance in Monday’s 8-1 loss to Milwaukee. Showalter said Miley told him he wanted to go into the All-Star break on a good note. “Out of all the things that could possibly happen good for the Orioles, that was the one we thought had the best return on it.”

Twins: LHP Adalberto Mejia (4-3) tries for his fourth-straight win. Mejia owns a 1.53 ERA during his winning streak.