Orioles sweep series from Twins

The Associated Press

BALTIMORE—On a night when the Baltimore Orioles benefited from several impressive individual performances, one stood above the rest.
Ubaldo Jimenez pitched seven sharp innings in his 2016 debut as Baltimore rallied to beat the Minnesota Twins 4-2 yesterday for a three-game sweep.
Manny Machado and rookie Joey Rickard homered for the Orioles, who got a strong outing from their bullpen and a clutch RBI single from Jonathan Schoop.
Most of all, though, there was Jimenez.
“You can go through a lot of different things in that game but Ubaldo was the key,” said Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter said.
“He was solid.”
Jimenez (1-0) gave up a first-inning homer to Joe Mauer and an unearned run in the second before bouncing back to hold the Twins at bay.
The right-hander allowed eight hits while striking out nine and walking none.
“I’m not one of those pitchers that’s going to have pinpoint command,” Jimenez admitted.
“Definitely every time I have a game like that without a walk, it makes me feel good because I know I’m in a good place with my mechanics and everything,” he noted.
Jimenez retired 12 of the final 14 batters he faced, striking out seven.
“The first couple of innings they were looking for the fastball right away,” he remarked.
“They were hitting and they came out swinging.
“But after that, we started throwing all kinds of breaking balls,” he added.
Orioles’ rookie Dylan Bundy worked the eighth before Darren O’Day got three-straight outs for his first save.
It was the first time the Twins were swept in Baltimore since 2012, when they also went 0-3 to open the season.
Minnesota finished 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position after going 1-for-12 in those situations over the first two games of the series.
“The one thing we were able to do last year was capitalize on opportunities, comparably when we didn’t have as many as some other teams,” noted manager Paul Molitor.
“I think it’s one of those things that builds early,” he added.
“Guys get up there and they are grinding, almost too hard even though we are only three games in.”
Twins’ starter Phil Hughes (1-0) took a 2-1 lead into the seventh, then gave up successive singles before a driving rain stopped play.
After a 21-minute delay, reliever Trevor May threw a wild pitch that allowed the tying run to score.
At that point, far too late, May called for the grounds crew to work on the slick mound.
“That’s up to me. If I’m slipping, I have to say something,” May said.
“Unfortunately, I paid for it.”
One out later, Schoop delivered an RBI single.
Rickard tacked on his first big-league homer in the eighth to cap the scoring.
The Orioles played without centre-fielder Adam Jones, who has soreness in his ribcage.
Showalter expressed hope his three-time all-star would be back in the lineup tonight.
Elsewhere in the AL, New York beat Houston 8-5, Chicago downed Oakland 6-1, and L.A. edged Texas 4-3.
Boston at Cleveland was postponed.