Written by Chris Slade
Wow, if you like offense, today's game kept you well entertained. Wei-Yin Chen and Ricky Nolaso were the starters for this 1:35 ET afternoon game and Nolasco in particular, had an outing to forget. The Orioles jumped on him early with a four-run inning in the 3rd when Nelson Cruz launched a solo shot and Ryan Flaherty launched a three-run shot. Trevor Plouffe made it a 4-2 game when he hit a two-run shot in the 4th. The Orioles KO'd Nolasco in the 6th when Adam Jones doubled in two runs. That same inning, J.J. Hardy blasted a grand slam and Caleb Joseph drove in a run on a single to put the Birds up 11-2. Jordan Schafer hit an RBI single and Danny Santana hit a two-run homer in the 7th. Jimmy Paredes drove in the Orioles final run with a single that same inning. The Twins tried to make thing interesting in the 9th with three runs scored, highlighted by a two-run single from Chris Parmalee. But, Zach Britton entered with one out to save the day and preserve the win.
Wei-Yin Chen had a decent outing today. He pitched into the 7th which is always a plus and had his trademark excellent control working, not allowing a single walk. However, he proved hittable today as the Twins were able to sit on his fastball at times and picked up eight hits in the process. Chen didn't need to be at his best with the run support he received and did leave with a chance for a quality start before an inherited run scored on Brad Brach. Ultimately, Chen picked up his team-leading 14th win of the season.
Final Line: 6.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, Win
The usually stellar relief core had a bit of an off day today, starting with Brad Brach in the 7th when he entered the game with two outs. He eventually got that third out but not before allowing four hits, including Danny Santana's two-run homer.
Brian Matusz was solid in the 8th with a scoreless inning of work and a strikeout.
Ubaldo Jimenez had a rough go of it in the 9th as he was no match for a patient Twins lineup. They collected one hit and drew three walks against him, one of which drove in a run with the bases loaded.
Tommy Hunter entered with one out and allowed a two-run single to Chris Parnalee. And just like that, Hunter was gone.
Zach Britton had to be summoned to finish off this slugfest and he delivered, inducing a double play to end the game.
The bats put on their big boy pants today. Every single batter in the lineup recorded at least one hit as the Twins were brutallly reminded how bad that Ricky Nolasco contract looks in hindsight. In total, the Orioles collected 18 hits, 5 walks, and scored 12 runs, 8 of which were charged to Nolasco.
Caleb Joseph had a big 4-for-5 day at the plate, and drove in a run in the 6th.
Ryan Flaherty hit a three-run home run, his 6th of the season. Flaherty, also tripled in the game to finish 2-for-5.
David Lough and Nick Markakis both had three hit games at the top of the order.
Nelson Cruz dropped his 35th home run, a no doubter in the 3rd, for his lone hit of the day.
Then, of course, how can we forget the biggest swing of the game, J.J. Hardy's bases clearing grand slam in the 6th, his 9th home run of the season.
Defensive Highlights/ Lowlights
J.J. Hardy made a sensational pick in the 9th to start off what would turn into a game-ending double play.
Key Moments In The Game
Hardy's grand slam turned this game into a laugher. Except, the Twins kept clawing back and before you knew it, Zach Britton found himself in a save situation in the 9th. Britton put the Twins to rest for good with a key double play to end the game.
Other Notes/ Musings
The last time every hitter logged a hit for the Orioles in a game was 5/17/2013 against the Rays. Thank you Elias Sports Bureau.
The O's finish the month of August with a 19-9 record and are 23 games over .500 on the season. The O's also carry a 9-game lead in the AL East heading into September which, let's be honest, will be extremely difficult to blow.
Caleb Joseph had a memorable post-game quote when asked about his four-hit day at the plate: "I'm here to play defense. I'm kind of angry that we gave up eight runs today."
The Orioles will go for their first ever four-game sweep at home of the Twins tomorrow at 1:35 ET. Phil Hughes and Kevin Gausman are the scheduled pitchers.
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