MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Twins scored early, but the Baltimore Orioles scored late on Friday at Target Field, and an RBI single by Manny Machado in the 10th was the difference as Baltimore beat the Twins 9-6 in the opening contest of the three-game series.
"It's not a club that panics," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It's a mature group. Even though it's the youngest team in our division, they stay within each other and do what they do. And guys don't try to hit five-run home runs. We strung a lot of good at bats together and kept grinding it out."
In a seesaw battle, the Orioles spotted the Twins six runs in the first five innings, then came roaring back to tie the game two innings later.
In the 10th, the Orioles scored three runs off reliever Anthony Swarzak, who took the loss. The usually reliable Twins bullpen could not hold the early lead.
"We're pretty thin out there in the bullpen, not being able to use some people, so we had to go with what we had and just didn't work out," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We had four guys out there, and we tried to get though it the best we could, and Swarzak was last line of defense."
Twins starter Mike Pelfrey blanked the Orioles for five innings in what was one of his best outings of the season to that point. But he returned to the mound for the sixth, and it proved to be one inning too many, as the Orioles' bats finally woke up.
Trailing 6-0 in the sixth inning, the Orioles busted out with four doubles to score three runs (two of the runs coming with two outs) and chased Pelfrey, who was charged with three runs on nine hits.
The hit parade continued in the seventh for Baltimore as Nate McLouth led off the inning with the team's sixth of seven doubles in the game. He scored when Machado bunted and Twins third basemen Trevor Plouffe threw wide of first base. Machado made it to second on the play and scored on a Nick Markakis single.
Chris Davis hit his third double of the game to score Markakis and suddenly the game was tied at six runs apiece.
"That a heck of a ball team," Gardenhire said of the Orioles. "They can run some hitters up there and ambush you. They got some big clutch hits-that's kind of what they're known for."
Orioles T.J. McFarland pitched 2 2/3 strong innings in relief, quieting the Twins bats after starter Jason Hammel gave up the six runs on eight hits and two walks.
Each team had double-digit hits, with the Orioles tapping Twins pitchers for 18 hits while the Twins had 11. But it was the four hits by the Orioles in the extra frame that proved to be the difference.
"I thought Manny showed a mature at bat, not trying to do too much," said Showalter.
The Twins opened the scoring in the bottom of the first when leadoff batter Jamey Carroll singled up the middle and Joe Mauer followed with his seventh double in the past six games. Carroll scored on Josh Willingham's groundout to third.
The Twins extended their lead in the second with a bases-loaded, two-out single by Mauer that knocked in two runs.
An inning later, the Twins tacked on a run when Justin Morneau led off with a double, moved to third on a groundout to short and then scored on Ryan Doumit's sacrifice fly to deep right.
After striking out the side in the fourth, Hammel began to tire in the fifth, hitting the first batter, walking the second and giving up an RBI single to Trevor Plouffe -- knocking Hammel out of the game. Oswaldo Arcia then grounded to the pitcher, but Morneau scored for a 6-0 Twins lead.
"(Hammel) had one real crisp inning, and I thought he was going to get there," said Showalter. "I thought he was going to have another one and give us five or six innings, and then hit Willingham with an 0-2 breaking ball-I think he's having a little trouble repeating his delivery right now."
The Orioles threatened in the third with the bases loaded but were unable to score. Pelfrey, who has rarely pitched beyond the fifth inning all season, scattered five hits in five shutout innings.
"Pelfrey was fine," Gardenhire said. "He threw the ball good. It was really coming out of his hand. Overall, a nice performance by him."
NOTES: The Twins have walked just three batters in the last 34 innings. ... Coming into the game, the Orioles have been outhit by opponents in each of the last four games but are 3-1 in that stretch-but they outhit the Twins 18-11. ... The Twins have committed just one error in their past 12 games and only two in their last 16. But with two against the Orioles, they have three in the past two games.