The All-star shortstop hopes to again lead the Orioles past the Minnesota Twins in the finale of a three-game series at Camden Yards.
On Saturday, Tejada homered, drove in two runs and scored a valuable insurance run with a daring dash to the plate, lifting the Orioles to a 4-2 win and snapping the Twins’ five-game winning streak.
The 2002 AL MVP upped his major league-leading RBI total to 90 by doubling in a run in the third inning and hitting his 19th homer in the sixth to tie the game at 2-2. But Tejada wasn’t done.
With the Orioles up 3-2 in the eighth, he was hit by a pitch, stole second and continued home when the throw from catcher Matthew LeCroy sailed into center field.
“He reminds me of the old playgrounds,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Tejada. “You go out there and the infield, he’s hooting and hollering and it’s kind of like going back to the days of the ‘Hey batter, batter, batter’ type thing.
“As an opposing manager, I love watching him play. I just love watching his enthusiasm.”
The defeat dropped Minnesota a half-game back of the first-place Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.
Signed to a $72 million, six-year contract in December, Tejada has proven a key addition to a team pressing to end a run of six straight losing seasons. In his last seven games, he is hitting 400 with three homers, 15 RBIs and nine runs scored.
“Since the All-Star break he’s really taken off,” Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli said of Tejada, who won the Home Run Derby prior to the midsummer classic in Houston earlier this month.
The same are 7-4 since the All-Star break, moving within a half-game of third place in the AL East.
Saturday’s loss was just Minnesota’s second in its last eight games. On Monday, the Twins will begin a three-game series with the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.