Ervin shuts out Orioles on 2 hits

Ervin shuts out Orioles on 2 hits

BALTIMORE -- The Twins used a dominating shutout effort from road warrior Ervin Santana to keep rolling, edging the Orioles, 2-0, in Tuesday's series-clinching win at Camden Yards for their fifth win in six games.

Minnesota, which improved to 13-5 on the road this season and entered the day trailing only Houston for the best road winning percentage in baseball, ensured it would remain alone atop the American League Central with the win. The O's -- who entered the day with an MLB-best .750 home winning percentage -- suffered their third consecutive loss at Camden Yards.

Santana -- who turned in his second shutout of the season -- was efficient and effective, holding the Orioles' high-powered lineup to just two hits to seal his seventh win. The righty has allowed just one earned run over four road starts (29 innings) this season and holds the Majors' lowest road ERA (0.31).

Santana on his shutout win

"You can do all the preparation you want to, but these are the best pitchers in the world," Orioles left fielder Trey Mancini said of Santana. "He brought it tonight, and he beat us."

"It was all about Ervin tonight, although [Dylan] Bundy held his own," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I just thought he was really aggressive with his fastball. Slider was good. Changeup was good. It was just … you can't throw enough superlatives his way when you have a performance like that. We didn't support him tremendously offensively, but he made two runs stand up."

Bundy turned in his ninth quality start, going seven innings, but he couldn't keep pace with Santana. Byron Buxton's RBI single broke the scoreless tie in the fifth and Brian Dozier sent Bundy's pitch into the left-field seats to make it 2-0 in the seventh.

Dozier's solo homer to left

"I wouldn't say I really think about it [being a pitchers' duel] too much. You just know that going into the game and try to limit your mistakes to those hitters over there," Bundy said. "Really more upset over the homer I gave up to Dozier over there in the seventh inning. Could've gotten us in the dugout a little quicker, it might have changed things."

Bundy K's seven in seven innings

Clutch Buxton: Buxton, who has gotten off to a rough start at the plate, delivered a key hit for Minnesota to score Jorge Polanco in the fifth. It marked just his sixth RBI on the season.

Buxton's RBI single to left

"I just went up there and didn't try to do too much," Buxton said. "I just went up there and tried to get that run in from third, and he left the slider over the plate and I was able to put some good wood on it and put it through the hole."

"There's just a rhythm to it, but like I've said many times, your momentum is who's pitching for you and who you're facing. You can be swinging the bats as good as can be swung, and you get a guy like that on top of his game and it can make you look that way. That's what's frustrating about last night, because you knew you had two pitchers that had kind of been struggling, one of them was going to kind of semi-right the ship and one of them wasn't." -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter, on the series loss

"It's just nice to see the confidence our guys have and, like I've said numerous times, Ervin just gives us a different look out there. The other guys haven't had some games, but just game-in and game-out, it's a good feeling. We know the Orioles play well at home. To come in and win the first couple and the chance to maybe finish off a sweep, it's just a good opportunity for us, and hopefully we can show up again tomorrow." -- Molitor, on giving the Orioles their first series loss at home

Santana's shutout was his 18th career complete game. The righty is the only pitcher in baseball with two shutouts this season.

Twins: Jose Berrios will get the ball for the Twins in Wednesday's series finale against the Orioles. Berrios has been a tremendous addition to the Twins' starting rotation with two impressive starts, including 7 2/3 scoreless innings against the Rockies. The righty has only allowed one run on four hits in his 15 1/3 innings. First pitch is scheduled for 11:35 a.m. CT on MLB.TV.

Orioles: The Orioles will send righty Chris Tillman to the mound on Wednesday. Tillman is coming off of his longest start after spending the first month on the disabled list. The righty allowed three runs on five hits over six innings in a no-decision vs. Toronto. First pitch is slated for 12:35 ET on MLB.TV.

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Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Mandy Bell is a reporter for based in Baltimore.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.