BALTIMORE -- The Twins roared back from a five-run deficit, led by Max Kepler's homer and four-RBI night, en route to totaling a season-high 21-hit output and cruising past the Orioles, 14-7, on Monday night at Camden Yards.
The series-opening win ensured the Twins would remain atop the American League Central for another night.
Minnesota, in a 5-0 hole after the second, chipped away at Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez before four consecutive hits chased him with no outs in the fifth. Jimenez was charged with six earned runs as the Twins evened things up and never looked back.
"[Kepler] was right in the mix. Aggressive tonight," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "First-pitch homer, first-pitch double. He swung the bat well even when he didn't get hits. He ran the bases well. Lot of guys, you can point out in terms of offensive production, but he had an outstanding night."
The Twins scored six runs (four earned) in the sixth off Jimenez's replacement, Tyler Wilson, using Jonathan Schoop's error and a steady barrage of offense to pull away. Miguel Sano notched a career-high four hits with his 11th homer, a two-run shot in the ninth off Stefan Crichton.
"[Wilson] kind of got us out of there 6-6 and after that he and Stef both couldn't stem the tide," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It's a good club. They've been playing real well this year. We knew we were going to be challenged today. A lot of switch-hitters and they're pretty even from either side. It's a tough lineup."
The Orioles jumped on Twins starter Kyle Gibson early, with a big two-out, three-run blast from Adam Jones highlighting a five-run second inning.
But Gibson was able to hang on for five innings to pick up the win, with Tyler Duffey throwing two scoreless innings behind him.
"As starts go on, your job changes from start to start," Gibson said. "After that big inning, the second, my job wasn't go six or seven innings. It was go five, six or seven innings and keep them right there and give them a chance. Thankfully I was able to do it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Twins highs: Minnesota had 14 runs, 21 hits and production up and down the lineup. Besides Kepler's big night and Sano's four hits, Eduardo Escobar had three RBIs and Joe Mauer had three hits and a pair of RBIs. Each of the Twins' starting nine had at least one hit in the onslaught.
O's, Jones capitalize on miscues: While Gibson struggled in the second, his defense didn't help him much. First Minnesota couldn't turn a double play on Welington Castillo's grounder. Then Byron Buxton's fantastic throw home, on J.J. Hardy's single, was for naught as catcher Jason Castro lost the ball as he went to tag Trey Mancini. The pair of plays would prove even more costly when Jones delivered his two-out, three-run blast.
"I've said a few times, after the season or after my career is over, I'll probably get a good perspective on the accomplishments that I've had during my career, but I just go every day, one day at a time. I know it's so cliché, but that's really what I do," Jones said. "I just try and win for that day, and let today be for today and tomorrow be for tomorrow."
"There's always that possibility. Is it good for the bullpen? That's another question. Those moves were made with [Zach Britton] here, OK? So, there's some different scenarios, but we are going to try to put our best foot forward."
-- Showalter, on moving Jimenez to the bullpen
"It's one of those things we were talking about when he went down and trying to control what you can control, and you can't what you can't. ... But we missed the double play and the play at the plate -- didn't get a good hop off of the grass and had the collision, so those are things out of his control. We were kind of toying with what we should do after we got back in the game and he had some success off of the guys he was facing there in the fifth, so we ran him back out there and he mowed them down."
-- Molitor, on Gibson's outing
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
In the third, the Twins' Brian Dozier sent a sharp liner down the third-base line for a double, but the Orioles issued a challenge, believing it was a foul ball. After a review, replay officials determined that the call stood.
WHAT'S NEXT Twins:Ervin Santana will take the mound for the Twins on Tuesday at 6:05 p.m. CT. Santana has been consistent most of the season with a 2.07 ERA, but is coming off a rare subpar outing against the Rockies, allowing five runs on six hits through seven innings.
Orioles: The Orioles send Dylan Bundy to the mound for Tuesday's middle game of the series. Bundy has been the club's most consistent starter with a 2.97 ERA. But the righty is coming off his roughest outing, allowing a career-high six runs on eight hits over six innings against the Tigers. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. ET.