Bullpen delivers as Twins rally to top Orioles

Bullpen delivers as Twins rally to top Orioles

Bullpen delivers as Twins rally to top Orioles
MINNEAPOLIS -- If there's been one bright spot for the Twins this year, it's been the effectiveness of the bullpen.

Twins starters have struggled to go deep into games, and despite the high number of innings logged by the relievers, they've managed to help carry the load so far this season.

Tuesday night wasn't any different, as the Twins received another short outing from one of their starters, but the bullpen picked up the slack and the offense came through late in a 6-4 win over the Orioles at Target Field.

"They've been throwing the ball great for us all year," catcher Joe Mauer said. "We've kind of had a lot of different guys go out there and start. They've been a bright spot for us. They gave us a chance to win and kept us in the ballgame and we were able to get a couple of runs for them."

Right-hander Samuel Deduno, making his second big league start, lasted just 4 1/3 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and five walks.

But the bullpen fared much better, as Jeff Gray, Tyler Robertson, Alex Burnett, Glen Perkins and Jared Burton combined to throw 4 2/3 scoreless innings after Deduno departed, with Burton earning the save after stranding a pair of runners in the ninth.

"They came in and they all did a great job there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They went and got the outs we had to. Some big ones at that. We didn't want to use that many innings out there, but what are you going to do? We were trying to win a ballgame and luckily for us, our bullpen did a super job."

The bullpen's big night helped make a late rally possible, as the Twins scored three runs in the fifth to tie the game at 4-4, before taking the lead with two runs in the seventh.

Ben Revere provided the go-ahead run with a two-out single in the seventh after Jamey Carroll and Denard Span both reached on infield singles, also with two outs. Mauer added an insurance run with an RBI single that moved him into eighth place on the Twins' all-time hit list, past Chuck Knoblauch with 1,198 hits.

"It was a nice comeback by us," Gardenhire said. "We had some big hits and there were some big performances again. It was a fun game. There was a lot of stuff going on there."

It came after the Orioles got out to an early lead, scoring in the first inning on a wild pitch from Deduno after he committed a throwing error on a pickoff throw at first base that allowed Nick Markakis to reach third.

Minnesota tied it up in the fourth, when Carroll laced a two-out RBI double down the left-field line off left-hander Zach Britton.

Baltimore quickly retook the lead in the fifth on a three-run blast from Adam Jones off Deduno. The opposite-field homer was Jones' 21st of the year and came on a first-pitch fastball.

"I think I threw more fastballs in this game but I have to command it," said Deduno, who needed 99 pitches to record 13 outs. "I lose it."

The Twins, though, were able to knot the game at 4-4 by scoring three runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth. Ryan Doumit laced a two-run single to right field before Brian Dozier brought home a run with a single to left.

Reliever Luis Ayala gave up the hits to Doumit and Dozier, but the runs were charged to Britton after he allowed the first three runners he faced to reach base before exiting after four-plus innings. "It's real tough," said Britton, who was making his season debut. "I mean, six walks, that's just absolutely unacceptable. There's no way that should happen. Ayala came into a tough spot and he did the best he could. He kept us in the game."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.