Refsnyder, Twins 8 extra-base hits, hand O’s 8th loss in row
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Rob Refsnyder homered and doubled twice, Jorge Polanco also homered and the Minnesota Twins beat Baltimore 7-4 Tuesday night, the Orioles’ eighth straight loss.
Mitch Garver and Alex Kirilloff each doubled twice as the Twins cranked out eight extra-base hits to win their third in a row.
“It’s certainly nice for it to start to come together a little bit,” Kirilloff said.
José Berríos (5-2) allowed one earned run on seven hits, striking out seven in 5 2/3 innings. Taylor Rogers came on to retire Cedric Mullins with two on and two out in the eighth, then got through the ninth for his third save.
“I’m pretty proud of this one,” Rogers said. “I did my best to just keep in the process. Get that left-hander out in the eighth and then worry about the ninth after that.”
Mullins and Maikel Franco each had two hits and DJ Stewart homered for the second night in a row for the Orioles.
Dean Kremer (0-5) gave up five runs on six hits with three walks over four innings. He also threw a pair of wild pitches that scored runs.
The Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the second with a pair of unearned runs. With one out and a runner on first, Ryan Mountcastle hit a chopper to the right of the mound. Berríos fielded it and made an off-balance but on-target throw to second that shortstop Andrelton Simmons dropped for an error.
A two-out walk loaded the bases, and Mullins followed with a two-run single.
The Twins countered with four runs in the bottom half. Polanco got it started with a leadoff homer, Refsnyder doubled home the tying run and after two walks filled the bases, Kremer threw a pair of wild pitches to score two more runs.
“I let things snowball pretty quickly after the home run and didn’t execute after that,” Kremer said.
The Orioles cut the lead to 4-3 in the fourth when Stevie Wilkerson and Pedro Severino led off with back-to-back doubles, but Berríos retired the next three hitters to end the threat.
After a bit of a shaky start, Berríos retired eight of the final nine batters he faced, exiting with two outs in the sixth after throwing a season-high 106 pitches.
“I knew that I had many pitches early in the fourth, so when I came to the fifth, I tried to make my quality pitches and get hitters out quickly,” Berríos said. “We did. So then, we were able to go into the sixth inning.”
Refsnyder doubled and scored on Josh Donaldson’s sacrifice fly in the fourth, and Kiriloff’s RBI double in the sixth put Minnesota on top 6-3.
Stewart and Refsnyder hit solo homers in the eighth inning.
OUT OF NOWHERE
Most Twins fans likely hadn’t heard of Refsnyder before this season, or even before he was called up on May 15. The 30-year-old journeyman has played for five major league teams and hadn’t hit a home run in the big leagues since 2018.
But in 11 games with the Twins so far, he’s hitting .438 (14 for 32) with two home runs and playing every day thanks to a spate of injuries in the Minnesota outfield. On Tuesday he scored three runs and also made a diving catch in center field to rob Mullins of a hit and save a run.
“I think we’re seeing some of the things that he’s capable of. He’s always been dangerous, he’s always been especially good against left-handed pitching,” said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, who was a coach with the Rays when Refsnyder played in Tampa Bay in 2018.
“I think the opportunity a lot of the time is the most important part,” he added, “just having the ability to go out there and get the at-bats at the big league level and being trusted in certain spots.”
Refsnyder currently is playing center field while Byron Buxton rehabs his injured hip. And as good as he’s been so far, he doesn’t expect to stay there when Buxton returns, which could be as soon as next week.
“I’m just trying to hold the fort down until Buck gets back. That’s his position out there,” Refsnyder said. “I know he’s getting back soon, which, as a Twins fan, I’m sure people are very excited about.”
Orioles: RHP Dillon Tate (hamstring) started a rehab assignment Tuesday at Triple-A Norfolk. Tate hasn’t appeared in a game since May 7.
Twins: Max Kepler was back in lineup as the designated hitter after missing Monday’s game with a sore hamstring, but DH Nelson Cruz (wrist) and utility man Luis Arraez (shoulder) remained sidelined.
In Wednesday afternoon’s series finale, RHP Michael Pineda (2-2, 2.79 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Twins against RHP Jorge López (1-5, 6.00). Pineda missed a turn in the rotation after having an abscess removed from his thigh. López allowed two runs and struck out eight over five innings in his last appearance, a loss to the Nationals on Friday.
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