Twins walk-off against Orioles closer Jorge López for second straight day, take series with 4-3 win
The Minnesota Twins walked off against Orioles closer Jorge López for a second straight day, with a game-tying home run from Jorge Polanco and Jose Miranda’s walk-off single handing Baltimore a 4-3 loss.
The Orioles entered the series undefeated at 29-0 when entering the ninth inning with a lead, largely because of López’s dominance in that frame. He took the mound Friday riding a 15-outing scoreless streak and hadn’t surrendered a home run in 37 innings this season, but then allowed longballs to consecutive batters between Byron Buxton’s two-run walk-off Friday and Polanco’s solo shot Saturday.
“It’s another bad day for me,” López said. “It’s all on me.”
López’s second straight loss — and the fourth straight for the Orioles (35-44) — wasted a strong start from Jordan Lyles, who carried a shutout into the seventh inning. After Minnesota put two in scoring position against him with no outs in the third, Lyles began a run of 13 straight Twins retired, which ended on Nick Gordon’s home run on his 100th pitch with one out in the seventh.
Gordon accounted for the only out López recorded in the ninth, striking him out after Polanco’s homer. Alex Kirilloff then doubled, advanced to third on Gary Sánchez’s soft single and scored the winning run on Miranda’s liner into left.
The veteran of the Orioles’ pitching staff, Lyles expressed confidence in López despite the rough series.
“He’s been one of the best relievers in baseball, and he’s had a tricky 24 hours,” Lyles said. “It is what it is. That’s what happens during the season. But everyone in this clubhouse has faith in him.
“A week from now, we won’t be even discussing this.”
Manager Brandon Hyde said López won’t pitch Sunday, when the Orioles will try to avoid a sweep and end their 12-game losing streak at Target Field. Before the series, López had the second-lowest ERA of any pitched who had thrown at least 35 innings, with that mark more than doubling from 0.73 to 1.69 with these two outings. He hasn’t allowed more than six hits in any calendar month this season, but the Twins went 6-for-7 against him in the first two games of July.
“He’s had an unbelievable first half,” Hyde said. “He probably hasn’t made a bad pitch all half, and he just had two tough games. It’s gonna happen.
“This is part of pitching in the back end of a ’pen. You’re gonna have your good days and not-so-good days, and that happens, but it’s how you really deal with some adversity and come back from it.”
Lyles works deep
Lyles said he wasn’t giving too much thought coming into the start to getting the team back on track after Friday’s tough loss. He was more concerned with when his outing could actually begin, with the game delayed about an hour thanks to rain in Minneapolis.
Once it did, he worked around early trouble, stranding two runners in both the second and third innings. But as the veteran right-hander got a better feel for his slider, he settled in. Lyles’ streak of 13 straight outs began in the third inning when he retired Buxton, Carlos Correa and Max Kepler, Minnesota’s two through four hitters, after putting two in scoring position with no outs. Lyles got some helped from in the fourth from Anthony Santander, who made a leaping grab at the left field wall, en route to his third straight start of more than six innings.
“He goes out every fifth day and gives it everything he has,” Hyde said before the game. “It’s great to have the young guys see how he posts every fifth day, and he’s actually asked to move up a day a time or two, just because he really wants the ball and he wants to help out. When Jordan’s on the mound, you know you’re gonna get a pro start. You’re gonna get a ton of strikes. He’s gonna challenge hitters. He’s going to be extremely competitive. That’s what he’s given us this year, is a guy that just takes the ball and pitches to win every time out.”
Félix Bautista overcame a similar situation to Lyles’ third in the eighth. Dillon Tate finished Lyles’ seventh before allowing a single and double to put runners at second and third for Buxton. Bautista struck him out on a pitch Statcast tracked at 100.9 mph, exceeding 100 three other times in his outing as Correa hit a sacrifice fly and Kepler struck out. That gave 56 pitches thrown at 100 mph or harder in his rookie seasons, exactly double the amount all other Orioles have thrown since pitch tracking began in 2008.
Correa’s sacrifice fly trimmed the Orioles’ lead to 3-2. Before Gordon’s home run, the Orioles held a three-run lead thanks to an RBI double from Tyler Nevin in the second, Anthony Santander’s 15th home run in the third and Jorge Mateo’s sacrifice fly to score Rougned Odor in the fourth. Hyde bemoaned his team not adding on.
“We’re just having a tough time,” Hyde said. “We’re not scoring a ton of runs. Gotta put the ball in play more.”
Around the horn
>> Infielder Ramón Urías (left oblique strain) began a rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie on Saturday.
>> Right-hander Kyle Bradish, on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation, will throw a bullpen Sunday.
Sunday, 2:10 p.m.
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