Offense rallies Worley to first win with Twins
Morneau drives in three and Doumit connects for key two-run homer
By Rhett Bollinger / 5/11/2013 11:40 PM ET
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota's offense scuffled through April, tying for the fourth-fewest runs in the Majors, but it's starting to heat up in May.
With 64 runs in the past 10 games, the Twins rank second in baseball in runs scored this month behind only the Rays, and remained on fire against Baltimore on Saturday night.
Vance Worley continued his struggles, but the offense, led by Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Ryan Doumit, picked him up to carry the Twins to an 8-5 win over the Orioles at Target Field. It marked the sixth straight game with at least five runs for the Twins, who improved to 4-2 over that stretch.
"Fortunately for our offense, Joe banged the ball around, Justin had three [hits] and Doumit put one up there by the upper tank," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "So it was a good night for us. Worley battled. He competed and kept us in there. We needed him desperately to get us at least into the sixth inning."
Worley scuffled through 5 1/3 innings, surrendering five runs on 11 hits and a walk with just one strikeout, but still picked up his first win with the Twins in eight starts. Worley gave credit to his teammates for the victory, as he was frustrated by another rough first inning
"I gave up a lot more hits than I wanted to," Worley said. "The first inning was pretty ugly, but overall my team had my back today. There were some really nice plays in the outfield and some big hits. And that saved me."
The Orioles struck in a hurry, scoring three runs in the first inning with four straight hits by Manny Machado, Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Chris Davis, all with one out.
The Twins got on the board in the third against Orioles right-hander Steve Johnson, when Joe Mauer laced an RBI double before coming around to score on a two-out single from Morneau. Baltimore added another run in the fourth on a solo shot from Matt Wieters off Worley to make it 4-2.
But Minnesota rallied for four runs in the fourth to take a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Brian Dozier brought home two runs with a double before the Orioles elected to walk Mauer intentionally. The decision backfired, as Doumit drew a walk to load the bases before Morneau came through with a two-run single off Johnson to give the Twins a 6-4 lead.
"The off-speed stuff for strikes was a little difficult tonight," Wieters said about Johnson, who gave up six runs on seven hits and four walks over four innings. "It's just [not] quite getting the feel of the off-speed stuff and being able to have that for strikes. The fastball was fine and the changeup came in pieces, but he just couldn't quite get off-speed pitches he could keep them off-balance with and big league hitters will eventually get on-time."
The Orioles made it 6-5 in the sixth with a one-out RBI single by Machado that knocked Worley from the game. But reliever Brian Duensing was able to get out of the jam by getting Markakis to ground into an inning-ending double play.
The Twins then added two insurance runs on one swing of the bat from Doumit in the bottom half. Doumit deposited a 1-2 fastball from left-handed reliever Troy Patton over the fence in left for a two-run blast. The homer scored Mauer, who went 3-for-4 to raise his average to .333 on the season.
"There are have been times this year where I've come up short, so it's nice to come up big tonight," said Doumit, who has three homers over his last five games. "Right now, I feel pretty good in the box."
Relievers Duensing, Casey Fien and Jared Burton combined to preserve the win for the Twins. Duensing was impressive, throwing two scoreless innings, while Burton picked up his first save of the year with closer Glen Perkins unavailable with soreness in his left side. It marked the first time Burton pitched on three straight days since doing so from Oct. 2-4, 2009.
"They're a good offensive team, so that was big," Duensing said about the bullpen's performance. "And Casey and Burton came in and shut the door. I think Burton was pitching three straight days for the first time since 2009, so that was huge, too. Everyone contributed."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.