By adding Nelson Cruz, C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop in the offseason, the Minnesota Twins envisioned a lineup with more power.
A month into the season, Minnesota is fulfilling that promise.
Cruz hit two of the Twins’ five home runs off Baltimore in a 6-1 win over the Orioles on Friday night.
Cruz, Eddie Rosario and Cron hit consecutive home runs in the first inning off Alex Cobb (0-2), with Cruz and Rosario connecting on back-to-back pitches. Max Kepler homered off Cobb in the fourth, and Cruz homered against Gabriel Ynoa in the fifth.
“It’s been fun,” Cruz said. “But everything starts with the pitching. That’s the key.”
Martin Perez (3-0) gave up one run and six hits in six innings for Minnesota.
“I threw a lot of cutters in,” said Perez, who also faced the Orioles in his previous outing. “They (didn’t) make any adjustments to that pitch. That’s why I threw a lot of cutters in and up, and changeups down and away.”
Cruz had his second multihomer game this season after going deep twice last weekend in Cobb’s previous start. The Twins scored 26 runs and hit 11 homers — three off Cobb — in a three-game sweep at Baltimore last weekend.
The Orioles have allowed 64 home runs in 27 games. No other major league team had given up more than 46 entering Friday.
Cobb allowed five runs — four earned — and six hits in four innings, giving up four homers in a game for the first time. His ERA actually dropped from 11.88 to 10.95.
“I’m just leaving so many balls up in the zone right now,” Cobb said. “They’re putting a lot of barrels to the ball, and they’re going out of the ballpark. So, I’ve got to figure out a way to get the ball down and more to my spots than I’m doing right now.”
Dwight Smith Jr. singled in a run for Baltimore in the sixth.
Trey Mancini had three hits for the Orioles. Mancini has hit safely in eight straight games and entered the day leading the AL in hits.
“What I love about Trey is he just uses the whole field,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “Two rockets to right field tonight. I just think he’s so tough to pitch to because he’s so strong and he’s not one-sided. He drives the ball to all parts of every field.”
RED HOT ROSIE
Rosario has 11 homers, all since April 6, and 22 RBIs in his last 17 games.
MEANS TO STICK IN ROTATION
Hyde said LHP John Means will remain in the starting rotation for now as the team works through decisions with its starting staff in the near future. Hyde said David Hess, who has started five games this season with a 5.88 ERA, was going to be available out of the bullpen.
Hyde indicate isn’t a permanent move for Hess, but the team is still trying to decide how to approach the schedule. Means has started three of his past four games and gave up one run in five innings to beat the White Sox in his last outing.
Twins: RHP Matt Magill (right shoulder tendinitis) was activated from the injured list. Minnesota sent RHP Chase De Jong outright to Triple-A Rochester. … Manager Rocco Baldelli said Miguel Sano (cut right heel) homered in an extended spring training game. Baldelli said Sano is not yet ready to begin a rehab assignment.
Following an extra day of rest, RHP Jose Berrios (3-1, 2.97 ERA) starts Saturday against the Orioles, who counter with RHP Dan Straily (1-1, 8.59). Berrios gave up a season-high four runs in six innings at Baltimore on April 20. Straily opposed Berrios in that last outing, yielding three runs in five innings.
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