Jones' clutch hit in 9th pushes O's past Twins

Jones' clutch hit in 9th pushes O's past Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- Adam Jones homered in the fifth inning and hit a go-ahead two-run single in the ninth to lift the Orioles to a 5-3 win over the Twins on Tuesday night at Target Field.

Twins closer Kevin Jepsen got two quick outs in the ninth, but gave up a double to Joey Rickard down the left-field line. Minnesota opted to issue an intentional walk to Manny Machado after falling behind 2-0, but it didn't work out, as Jones smashed a hard liner to left that ricocheted off left fielder Oswaldo Arcia as he tried to make a sliding catch. It brought home two runs, which was enough for Baltimore closer Zach Britton, who picked up his eighth save with a scoreless ninth to hand the Twins their sixth straight loss.

Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman allowed three runs over six innings in a quality start with nine strikeouts, but received a no-decision after serving up a game-tying two-run homer to Trevor Plouffe in the sixth.

Plouffe's two-run shot

Twins prospect Jose Berrios, making his third career start, showed flashes of his potential yet again with six strikeouts in five innings, but he was also hurt by the home run ball. He struck out the side in the fifth, but gave up back-to-back solo blasts to Machado and Jones with two out.

Machado's solo shot

"[It was] another run for the team. Go out there and support your pitcher," Jones said of his mindset after the homer, which helped him turn in his best offensive game of the season. "The game continues to go, it continues to go. You can't go caught up on every single thing that happens. A good swing, finally was able to help out the team. Now, do it tomorrow."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Jones' slump buster: The O's center fielder, who has struggled to find his power stroke, came up big on Tuesday night. First there was Jones' homer, a mammoth 453-foot blast, according to Statcast™, that marked just his second dinger of the year. More >

Statcast: Jones goes deep

"As good as Manny is swinging, you get a little ooh and ah from Manny. That was a lot of frustration out in one swing," manager Buck Showalter said of Jones' blast. "That was a lot of pent-up [frustration], I can tell you that."

Plouffe, there it is: Plouffe's first homer since coming off the 15-day disabled list was a big one, as it tied the game in the sixth. The two-run shot, which was Plouffe's 50th career homer at Target Field, left the bat at 105 mph and traveled 403 feet from the plate, according to Statcast™. He also had a sacrifice fly in the first inning.

Plouffe's sacrifice fly

"We hadn't had a big hit in a while and Trevor gave us one," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It gave us life."

Berrios cuts down walks: Berrios had control issues in his first two starts, walking seven in 9 1/3 innings, but the 21-year-old had much better command this time out, walking one. But he still needs to work on being more efficient, as he needed 93 pitches to get through five innings.

Berrios holds O's to three runs

"He throws some really good pitches and then he loses it for a few," Molitor said. "He's still struggling with that arm-side in to righties and away from lefties. He made some good pitches, but made a mistake on the changeup to Machado, who was on everything he was throwing. And Jones got a hanging curveball. But he battled."

Gausman solid: Coming off a fantastic outing against the Yankees, Gausman delivered another quality start. He held the Twins to five hits, one of which was Plouffe's two-run homer, while striking out nine in the 111-pitch performance.

Gausman strikes out nine

"Obviously, I was upset about the home run. Anytime you are cruising in your last inning, one of the worst pitches you throw all day gets hit out of the park to tie the ballgame, it's definitely frustrating," Gausman said of Plouffe's blast. "But after just sitting in here, it's a quality start. and as a starting pitcher that's really your main focus."

QUOTABLE
"I have to continue to look for light and be optimistic about what we can over the next 130 games. I don't want to get into conversations about a long summer. There's too much baseball. But we need to find a way to do better and come up with wins in the games where we've come up on the short end of." -- Molitor, on Minnesota's 8-24 start that is the worst in Twins history

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Joe Mauer, who leads the American League in on-base percentage, batted leadoff for the first time in his 13-year career and went 0-for-3 with a walk. The only spots in the order where Mauer has never started a game are fifth and ninth. More >

Mauer draws a walk

WHAT'S NEXT
Orioles: Right-hander Tyler Wilson (1-1, 3.04 ERA) will get the ball for the finale of this two-game set at Target Field on Wednesday at 1:10 p.m. ET. Wilson held the Yankees to three runs over six innings in his previous start last Wednesday.

Twins: Right-hander Phil Hughes is set to start in the series finale on Wednesday at 12:10 p.m. CT. Hughes (1-5, 5.85) has struggled recently, as he lasted two innings in his previous start, allowing six runs against the Astros last Wednesday..

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.