Michael Pineda (3-2) allowed one run and three hits over six innings in his first start since May 13 following a trip to the injured list caused by a thigh abscess. He struck out eight and walked two, and fell behind in the first on Trey Mancini’s 11th home run.
“When you have more than six, seven days to pitch, you lose a little bit of your rhythm. But today I was trying to locate my fastball because I was moving my body a little bit quicker,” said Pineda, who retired his last 12 batters. “After the third inning I got a little tired, I stayed a little bit back and it’s why I threw better pitches in the third, fourth, fifth innings.”
“I think that our guys are able to use everything that’s happened early this year as motivation going forward,” said manager Rocco Baldelli, whose team was an MLB-worst 14-28 last week. “We know who we are. But to prove it every day and go out there and prove that what we were doing, and the way we were playing early on is not the true nature of this group.”
The Orioles have lost nine straight, their longest skid since dropping 10 in a row from June 12-21, 2019, and have been outscored 72-39 during the slide. Baltimore has lost 16 of its last 18, falling to 17-32.
“I’m not sensing any quit in our guys,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “There’s some frustration. Obviously, this doesn’t feel good. We’re in most of these games, too. It’s just we’re having a tough time getting on the right end of it.”
Jorge Lopez (1-6) dropped to 0-4 in his last seven starts, giving up three runs and four hits in a season-high six innings. Lopez has received one or no runs of support in eight of nine starts this season.
Mancini, who has 42 RBIs, began the day tied with Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the major league lead.
Sanó homered with two outs in the sixth following Max Kepler’s single and Nelson Cruz’s walk. The 426-foot drive to center was Sanó’s ninth homer and gave Minnesota home runs in 12 straight home games.
Baltimore had no hits in innings two through eight before Mancini doubled and scored on a Maikel Franco double in the ninth off Hansel Robles, who earned his third save in four chances.
Baltimore right-hander Dean Kremer (0-5, 6.87) was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
Hyde said left-hander Keegan Akin, who pitched three innings of relief Tuesday, will start Sunday and right-hander Dillon Tate (left hamstring strain) is to be recalled from his rehab assignment Thursday.
Kremer allowed nine earned runs in seven innings over his past two starts, including five runs in four innings Tuesday. He also threw two wild pitches with the Twins scoring on each.
Orioles outfielder Austin Hays (left hamstring strain) was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to May 24, and outfielder Ryan McKenna was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk. Outfielder/first baseman Ryan Mountcastle (left hand) did not play.
The Orioles open a four-game series at the White Sox on Thursday with left-hander Bruce Zimmermann (2-3, 5.59) to face Chicago’s right-hander Dylan Cease (2-1, 3.18).
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