BALTIMORE -- Top Twins prospect Byron Buxton collected his first Major League RBI on Saturday night, and it couldn't have come at a bigger time, as the rookie's single propelled Minnesota past the Orioles, 3-2.
"He's a young kid who is extremely talented and he is kind of finding his way up here," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "There are going to be days where it's going to be a little challenging for him as he adjusts to what the pitching is like up here on a regular basis. But it was nice to see him get his first RBI in a big situation."
Buxton roped a single into left field off reliever Brad Brach to score Torii Hunter and cap off a two-run seventh that gave Minnesota its first lead of the night. The run was credited to Baltimore starter Chris Tillman, who suffered his first loss since May 31, as the Orioles dropped their sixth straight to the Twins this season.
Casey Fien -- who pitched 1 2/3 innings Friday night -- picked up his second consecutive win, recording nine outs in the last two games without a batter reaching base. He replaced Kyle Gibson, whom the Orioles scratched two runs off of on RBIs from Henry Urrutia and J.J. Hardy. With the win, Minnesota picked up its first three-game road winning streak since four straight victories from April 25-May 9.
"We're not mounting a whole lot offensively other than it seems like one, maybe two innings," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "They're pitching well and we're not particularly grouping a whole lot together. It's a bad combination."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED The streak is over: Tillman had won his last seven decisions before this game. And this is where, as Showalter sometimes says, the baseball gods didn't smile upon the Orioles -- and Tillman (9-8). He allowed only three runs on four hits in 6 2/3 innings and even retired 14 straight at one point, but the Twins took the lead with two runs in the seventh, and that was enough. More >
"I thought, for the most part, I was pretty good," Tillman said. "For the most part, my pitches were there, all of them were there for me throughout. Tonight, I felt like I had all of it."
Safety first: The Twins took the lead in the seventh, and it wouldn't have been possible without a safety squeeze courtesy of Kurt Suzuki. After Eddie Rosario led off the inning with a walk and moved to third on a Hunter hit-and-run, Suzuki put a perfect bunt down the first-base line to knot the score up at 2. Buxton delivered the go-ahead run two batters later. More >
"We executed a hit-and-run, went first to third, Suzuki had a suicide squeeze and 'Buck' came up with a big hit as well to get the go-ahead run, so we did everything we possible could," Hunter said.
Pain? What pain? Hardy began feeling some groin discomfort late in Friday's game, and although Showalter put him in Saturday's starting lineup, there was some doubt whether he'd play. Hardy did play and gave the Orioles a brief 2-1 lead with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly. The skipper said Hardy got through the game fine but that he'll give the veteran shortstop a day off Sunday. More >
"He felt pretty good, all things considered," Showalter said. "I'll probably give him a day tomorrow ... see if we can try to clear it up a little bit."
Gibson good, not great: Gibson looked much better than he did in his last start, but the right-hander worked himself into some trouble in the sixth with a leadoff walk to Chris Davis. Davis scored on Hardy's sac fly, and Gibson's night ended after 5 2/3 innings with six hits, two runs, four walks and two strikeouts. He got some sweet relief from Fien, who recorded the final out of the inning, leaving the bases loaded with a swinging strikeout of Manny Machado.
"Gibson kind of in the pattern what we've seen as of late," Molitor said. "The command not great, but he's found ways to keep you in the game, which is a good thing."
"I'm honored to be his first RBI. A guy that I'm really trying to help, I'm going to give him everything I can. He's playing center field, a position that I once roamed and he listens, man. He doesn't have to listen, but this guy is pretty smooth. I like him, good kid." -- Hunter, on Buxton
"He's got plenty of velocity and the cutter is tough. Some of the numbers weren't particularly good early, as far as average against and those types of things, but he's pitching confidently and he's getting good results." -- Molitor, on Fien
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Tillman registered his 600th career strikeout in the fourth inning, fanning Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe.
After Eduardo Escobar led off the sixth inning with a double, Buxton put down a sacrifice bunt that Tillman fielded and fired to Jonathan Schoop at first base for a bang-bang play. Buxton was originally called out, and following a review, the call stood and Minnesota lost its challenge.
WHAT'S NEXT Twins: Minnesota will go for the sweep of the season series Sunday afternoon (12:35 CT) with Mike Pelfrey (6-7, 3.62 ERA) on the mound. The right-hander has been solid in August, posting a 2.25 ERA in four starts. He allowed just one run in 5 1/3 innings against the Yankees in his last outing.
Orioles:Kevin Gausman (2-5, 4.48) gets the start Sunday (1:35 ET) in the final game of this homestand. Gausman took the loss in each of his last three starts and five of his last seven but hasn't pitched badly. He gave up three runs in six innings his last time out, Tuesday against the Mets.