'Keep playing fun' is Buxton's mindset

Center fielder delivers go-ahead hit vs. Orioles

'Keep playing fun' is Buxton's mindset

While Ervin Santana rolled to his Major League-leading second shutout, the offense did just enough behind him with Byron Buxton and Kennys Vargas showing promising signs to help spark the offense in the 2-0 win on Tuesday at Camden Yards.

Buxton went 1-for-2 with an RBI single in the fifth, while Vargas went 2-for-4 with two doubles. It was Buxton's RBI single that proved to be the game-winner, and it was a perfectly placed grounder through the hole into left field to score Jorge Polanco.

With the count 1-1, Bundy threw a slider away and Buxton yanked it to left, but it got the job done despite an exit velocity of only 76.9 mph. In that situation, with runners at first and third with nobody out, Buxton was trying to get a pitch to put in play, and he was rewarded with the go-ahead hit to boost his confidence.

"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 [O's starter Dylan Bundy] left the slider over the plate, and I was able to put some good wood on it and put it through the hole."

Buxton's running grab in center

Buxton also drew a five-pitch walk to lead off the third against Bundy, who was otherwise tough, going seven frames, and allowing two runs on six hits with seven strikeouts.

"He's working," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It's one of those things where we know Bundy can pitch backwards really well. [Buxton] got fooled on an 0-1 slider, and he came back with the same pitch and he stayed on it enough to get it through the infield and worked a walk in his first at-bat. The work -- the quality at-bats are inching forward, and hopefully the results will follow."

Vargas had been scuffling a bit recently, hitting .188 over his past nine games, but he has been hitting better since his pinch-hit two-run homer to tie the game in Friday's eventual win. It was evident against Bundy, as he doubled twice off him, including ripping a hard-hit double down the first-base line.

If Buxton and Vargas can get hot, it'll go a long way toward lengthening a lineup that also received a solo homer from leadoff hitter Brian Dozier, his first since May 11.

"To be able to come here and get two big wins like that, that's real big for us," Buxton said. "We just got to come out there and keep playing free, keep playing fun and playing our game."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.