Adam Jones homers twice as Baltimore Orioles rout Minnesota Twins

By Brian Hall, The Sports Xchange  |  July 9, 2017 at 8:44 PM
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Finishing a stretch of 16 games in 17 days covering five different cities, the Baltimore Orioles were limping to the All-Star break.

After losing the first two games in Minnesota, Baltimore had lost five games in a row. Dating to June 9, the Orioles were 11-20 and had two losing streaks of at least five games while falling from 2 1/2 games back in the American League East to 8 1/2 games.

The break is welcomed by the Orioles. Adam Jones and the rest of the Baltimore hitters made sure they'd take the vacation with some positive feelings that pulled them within 7 1/2 games of the Boston Red Sox.

Jones homered twice and drove in five runs and Caleb Joseph added two hits and three RBIs as the Orioles went into the All-Star break with two straight wins after Sunday's 11-5 victory over the Twins.

"We've got some days off, so hopefully we can mentally get away from this game, mentally put behind us the last two months of baseball and come out in the second half with blazing saddles and ready to attack this East," Jones said. "It's not going to get any easier, and I think our guys understand that. Let's do what we have to do."

Jones had his first multi-homer game of the season and 11th of his career, taking Minnesota's Kyle Gibson deep twice. Seth Smith and Ruben Tejada each had three hits for Baltimore.

"They jumped out early and kept going after," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "You could tell they wanted to end on a good note. ... The runs that were there for us to score we took advantage of. A lot of times you leave those out there; a lot of good, professional at-bats."

Ubaldo Jimenez survived one bad inning thanks to Baltimore's highest offensive output since scoring a season-high 15 runs on June 17. Jimenez (4-4) allowed four runs, four hits and four walks in five innings.

Gibson (5-7) surrendered seven runs, nine hits and two walks in four innings.

"It's frustrating to leave the bullpen feeling good like I did and feel like (catcher Chris Gimenez) and I had a pretty good plan today," Gibson said. "It's frustrating for that to turn out that way. I don't think, other than the two walks, I threw enough strikes. I think it was just the quality of strikes."

The offensive burst started quickly against Gibson as Smith walked on four pitches to start the game. Jonathan Schoop singled and Jones hit a blast to center field estimated at 444 feet.

Baltimore added two runs in the second and four in the fifth to end Gibson's day. Jones' second homer, his 15th of the year, led off the fifth. Joseph added a two-run blooper to right and Tejada plated another run on a double.

Gibson had turned around his season in recent outings with a 3.98 ERA in his last seven starts, in which he was 4-2. Gibson also entered the game with 6.6 runs of support per start, the second-highest mark in the American League for pitchers with at least 15 starts.

"We've been back and forth on Kyle; good days, bad days, and when things go haywire," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Today, I thought the leadoff walks really hurt him."

The Twins took advantage of a shaky Jimenez in the second, batting around in the inning and scoring four runs on just two hits.

Kennys Vargas was hit by a pitch before Jimenez got two outs. He then walked in a run with three straight walks. Robbie Grossman laced a two-run single and Max Kepler followed with an RBI double.

Jimenez thought he wasn't getting strikes called from home-plate umpire Lance Barrett.

"We re-watched the video and all those pitches were in the strike zone," Jimenez said. "I don't know what happened. I have respect about the umpires who are out there because, just like us, they're trying to do the best they can out there. But in that inning, I think it was too many times."

NOTES: Minnesota C Jason Castro was scratched from the lineup prior to the game. Multiple reports said Castro is dealing with neck spasms. Chris Gimenez took his spot in the lineup. ... With a three-run homer in the first inning, Orioles CF Adam Jones tallied the 768th RBI of his career, passing Ken Singleton for fifth in team history. ... Twins LHP Craig Breslow (left thoracic rib soreness) traveled to start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester. RHP Justin Haley (right shoulder soreness) was making his second rehab start at Rochester. ... Orioles DH/1B Chris Davis (right oblique strain) participated in batting practice again and is headed to Class A Frederick to start a rehab assignment on Monday.

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