MINNEAPOLIS — Denard Span had three hits and five RBIs, plus two highlight-reel catches in center field to help the Minnesota Twins stop their five-game losing streak and beat the Baltimore Orioles 19-7 on Monday night. Ben Revere made two remarkable running grabs himself in right field to go with four hits and three RBIs, Joe Mauer homered and drove in two runs and Justin Morneau had four of Minnesota’s 20 hits.
Chris Tillman (1-1) gave up seven runs in the first and didn’t finish the inning, the shortest appearance by an Orioles starter this season. Six of the runs were unearned, due an untimely two-out error by first baseman Mark Reynolds. He hit a three-run homer off Scott Diamond (8-3), but the Twins starter won his third straight decision thanks to the big early lead.
After such an unfamiliarly strong start, threatening to not only snap that ugly streak of 14 straight losing seasons but make the playoffs, the Orioles have slid back toward the .500 mark largely because of a crumbling rotation.
Only Wei-Yin Chin is currently in action from the opening day quintet. In four of their last eight games, the starter has gone just four innings or fewer. The Orioles fell out of the lead in the crowded race for the second wildcard spot. Tillman turned in a stellar start for the Orioles on July 4, surrendering only two hits and two unearned runs over a career-high 8 1/3 innings at Seattle, but this time was just the opposite of that.
Baseball games are rarely determined so early, but a pair of plays in the field in the first inning essentially decided this one.
With two on and none out, Adam Jones drove what would’ve been a double or a triple hard down the right-field line, but Revere raced toward the corner and came up with a fully outstretched catch to freeze the runners. Then Wieters bounced into a double play, keeping the Orioles from scoring at all. In the bottom of the frame, Revere doubled and scored on Mauer’s single. The Twins eventually loaded the bases, but Tillman had two outs and a full count on Ryan Doumit. On the eighth pitch of his at-bat, Doumit hit a chopper to first base that Reynolds awkwardly lunged toward with his backhand. The ball glanced off the edge of his glove, allowing two men to score and paving the way for Span’s three-run double that capped the inning.
The Orioles and Twins sure packed a lot into this matchup, including a balk, an infield fly rule call and even a two-run infield single. That came courtesy of Revere, whose grounder up the middle skipped off second base in front of shortstop J.J. Hardy, who couldn’t grab it in time to throw Span out at home and keep the Twins from taking a 10-2 lead in the third.
Span made a sprinting, sliding catch of a sinking liner to steal a single from Steve Tolleson in the sixth and sped back to nab J.J.
Hardy’s drive against the bullpen wall in the seventh. Revere also took an extra-base hit from Hardy with his second long run of the night, in the fifth.
NOTES: Orioles DH Jim Thome returned to Target Field to face the Twins with a visiting team for the third time in less than a year, first with the Indians and then with the Phillies. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire playfully held hostage the ball Thome hit into the flower bed above right field for career homer 607 when he was here last month. Gardenhire joked he needed to see ‘‘something that helps one of our favorite charities’’ before giving it back. . . . RH Samuel Deduno (0-0, 5.06 ERA) makes his second career start for the Twins on Tuesday. He was added to the rotation right before the All-Star break. LH Zach Britton will be recalled from Triple-A Norfolk by the Orioles and make his 2012 debut. He started the season on the DL with a left shoulder problem. . . . The Orioles still haven’t named a starter for Wednesday to fill RH Jason Hammel’s spot. Hammel had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Monday. . . . LH Dana Eveland cleared waivers and was outrighted to Norfolk by the Orioles. . . . The Twins are averaging 5.9 runs per game when Diamond starts, nearly two more than the rest of the rotation. . . . Morneau and Trevor Plouffe each stretched their seasonlong hitting streaks to 14 straight games for the Twins.