Steaming at-bats, smoking defense go together for Twins

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 16, 2012 - 10:31 PM

Ben Revere's sprint and dive gave the Twins a chance to leap to a seven-run lead in the first.

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By July's end, the Twins could trade Denard Span to a team such as the Nationals or Reds that's looking for a proven leadoff hitter, knowing Ben Revere is always ready to move from right field to center.

But the Twins would sure miss nights like Monday, when they had both players doing damage atop their lineup and ranging all over downtown Minneapolis to steal would-be hits from their opponents.

Span and Revere combined for four nice catches, seven hits and eight RBI, as the Twins rolled to their most lopsided win of the season, a 19-7 thrashing of the Orioles at Target Field.

"I told [Revere], 'Hey, you're killing me out here, man,'" Span said. "Every time I tried to make a catch, he turns around and dives and flips. He's killing me on the Web gems. You've got to let the old man get in there once in a while."

Scott Diamond (8-3) got the win, despite allowing five runs in six innings, as the Twins ended a five-game losing streak, along with a string of seven consecutive losses against the Orioles, dating to last season.

The Twins scored seven first-inning runs (six unearned) off Orioles starter Chris Tillman (1-1) and kept pouring it on. Justin Morneau had four of Minnesota's 20 hits, which matched a season high for the team. The 19 runs were the most for the Twins since they scored 19 at Kansas City on July 26, 2010.

"We've been taking a lot of beatings," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It was nice to be on this side of one."

With such a lopsided score, this might seem hard to believe, but one of the biggest plays of the game actually came on defense for the Twins.

The Orioles threatened to make this another tough first inning for Minnesota, as the first two batters reached before Adam Jones lined a rocket toward the right-field line.

Jones is a righthanded hitter, so Revere was playing way off the line, but the speedster sprinted furiously, dove and made the catch with full extension.

"I saw in the scouting report that he likes to go to that right-center gap, so I was there," Revere said. "He went down and got it, so the ball kind of tailed. It kind of got in the sun a little bit, so I squinted my eyes and luckily I saw it. I dove and it landed in my glove."

If that ball lands for a hit, it's a very different inning for the Orioles. Instead, Diamond got the next hitter, Matt Wieters, to ground into an inning-ending double play.

The Twins took that momentum back to the dugout and got ready to face Tillman, who was masterful in his only other start for the Orioles this season, holding the Mariners to two hits and two unearned runs in 8 1/3 innings on July 4.

Revere started the first-inning rally with a one-out double, and Joe Mauer lined an RBI single up the middle. With two outs and the bases loaded, first baseman Mark Reynolds made an error trying to field Ryan Doumit's chopper in the hole toward second base. Two runs scored on the play, and before Tillman's nightmare ended, Brian Dozier hit an RBI single and Span added a three-run double.

"We definitely needed a win like that," Span said. "We didn't play too well against Oakland. I think we were due for a breakout win like that, just an all-around good baseball game."

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