BALTIMORE (AP) – Cedric Mullins reaches right-centre ground and makes a sliding, backhanded catch at the base of the wall.
It was still early, but until then, this night felt different for the Baltimore Orioles.
“I think it was the turning point in the game,” said Orioles starter Bruce Zimmerman. “Everyone saw that, we were ready to roll. You can see a kind of mental shift in our side after that catch.”
Mullins got two hits and scored two runs to go with his sensational catch, helping Baltimore break a 14-game losing streak with a 7-4 win over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.
Pedro Severino and Machel Franco both built home for the Orioles, who also ended a 16-game head-to-head skid against Minnesota. Zimmermann (3–3) allowed two runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings, making a career-high seven.
The Orioles used four relievers. Cole Sulcer took ninth for his first save of the season. He allowed out Alex Kiriloff and Jorge Polanco to the plate with an out before retiring on a flyout – Polanco hit a drive just before his at-bat that was a slight foul.
It was tied at 1 in the third, when Nelson Cruz of Minnesota hit a drive to the right-center with a runner on the first and two outs. The middle fielder, Mullins had to score a long run before sliding along the warning track for a backhand catch against the wall.
“Probably the best catch I’ve ever caught in pro baseball,” Zimmerman said.
The twins never took the lead. The Orioles scored four runs in their third half immediately after Mullins was caught. They won for the first time since May 16 – when Zimmerman was also the winning pitcher against the New York Yankees.
“Tonight we let it all go,” said Trey Mancini of Baltimore. “It was June 1, like a natural reset for us, and we all decided to forget May and come back stronger in June.”
Kyle Garlick and Willian Estudillo hit singles homers for Minnesota. Michael Pineda (3-3) conceded five runs and seven hits in three innings.
Twins catcher Mitch Garver went to the hospital after leaving the game with a groin injury following a wrong tip in the first innings. Manager Rocco Baldelli said he probably won’t be able to catch up again for a while.
Baldelli also said that Pineda was troubled by the stiffness of the forearm.
“I think he’s going to make a full recovery,” Baldelli said.
Mullins led Baltimore with the first triple and scored on Mancini’s single. Following Garlick’s homer, Mancini again went to Mullins with another single in the third. Freddie Galvis added an RBI single, DJ Stewart drove into a run with a groundout, and Ryan Mountcastle hit a run-scoring double and made it 5–1.
“It’s the way baseball works,” Pineda said. “Sometimes you have fast innings, sometimes you have tough innings. Just keep your head up and keep grinding. “
Severino’s homer came in fourth and Franco’s sixth. Kiriloff’s RBI single made it 7-3 in the seventh, but Polanco hit a regular base to end that threat.
Estudillo went deep into the eighth and pulled the twins within three.
It was Baltimore’s longest losing streak since the Orioles started 0-21 in 1988.
Baltimore selected infielder Tyler Nevin for Triple-A Norfolk after the game.
more streak notes
It was the Twins’ longest winning streak over a team since scoring 17 consecutive runs over Boston in 1965 and 1966.
The last major league team to lose 15 straight overall was the Houston Astros in 2013.
The Twins: Rob Refsneider didn’t play a day after hitting the wall in Minnesota victory. Baldelli said Refsnyder was also experiencing some quad stiffness.
Orioles: RHP Hunter Harvey (oblique left) scored 1 2/3 for Norfolk on Tuesday night.
Minnesota sends RHP Randy Dobnac (1-4) to the mound against Baltimore’s Matt Harvey (3-6) on Wednesday night. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said Harvey – pitching on three days’ rest – would probably play an innings or two before the game turned into the bullpen.
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