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La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Postgame: Buxton faked out by Jones' play in center field

    BALTIMORE — A trio of extras from another Ervin Santana extravaganza: 

    — Byron Buxton drove in the game-winning run on Tuesday, but he wasn’t on base for long. When Robbie Grossman lifted a shallow fly ball to center, Buxton was stuck halfway between first and second base, trying to figure out whether it would drop.

    Adam Jones came racing in and looked like he might make a running grab. But it was just a fake — the ball short-hopped Jones’ glove, and he quickly tossed the ball to second base, turning Grossman’s apparent base hit into a force out instead.

    Does Buxton think Jones was trying to fool him? “Probably so,” Buxton said. “The way he went after the ball, it definitely looked like he was going to catch it. I thought if I kept going [to second], he would have doubled me off at first.”

    Still, Buxton was happy he came through with a critical hit through Baltimore’s drawn-in infield. “I just went up and didn’t try to do too much, just pick up the runner from third,” he said. “Got a good pitch and was able to put one through the hole.”

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    Paul Molitor said he doesn’t know what it’s like to face Ervin Santana, but he figures it’s a lot harder than it looks. Santana’s fastball, he said, rarely looks the same twice in an at-bat.

    “The fact that he somewhat subtly changes speeds on his fastball” is particularly effective, the Twins manager said. “He’ll paint at 90, 91 [mph], and then elevate at 93, 94. It might not seem that significant, but he knows when he needs to reach back and elevate. He doesn’t blow people away, but he gets strikeouts when he puts it in a good spot.”

    Santana got five strikeouts on Tuesday, which is about three more than the number of hard-hit balls the Orioles managed.

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    They didn’t figure into the outcome, but Kennys Vargas had a pair of doubles off Dylan Bundy, the first time this season he’s had two extra-base hits in a game. And the best part: Both were a result of Vargas’ hustle — and, to hear him tell it, his speed.

    “Run, run, run,” Vargas laughed after the game. “Speedy guy.”

    He looped an outside pitch inside the left-field line in the second inning, and left fielder Trey Mancini was shifted toward center, so Vargas calculated he could get to second. He did, easily.

    And in the sixth inning, Vargas pulled a pitch and lined it past first baseman Chris Davis. Again, he figured right fielder Seth Smith would take some time getting to the corner, so he gambled and won.

    “Sometimes outfielders see a big guy, they don’t think we’ll go,” Vargas said. “That’s when — zoom!”

Grossman's on-base prowess keeps Rosario on Twins bench in Baltimore

    BALTIMORE — Eddie Rosario had missed just one game all season when the Twins arrived here yesterday. Now he’s sitting out two games in a row.

    But it doesn’t have much to do with the Twins’ young left fielder, manager Paul Molitor said. It’s more about Robbie Grossman and the way he’s been hitting righthanded pitching lately.

    Grossman has an .890 OPS against righthanders, and he now ranks third in the American League in on-base percentage with a .417 mark. (Miguel Sano is second at .439, by the way, trailing only the Angels’ Mike Trout). And Molitor loves the matchup against Dylan Bundy, the Orioles’ starter tonight.

    The options, then, were to play Grossman in the outfield again, or make him the designated hitter, a position Kennys Vargas has been occupying lately.

    “If I kept Robbie in there, which was pretty much a given for me today, it was either Vargas sits two games in a row, or Rosie sits two in a row.,” Molitor explained of his lineup. “It’s just a situation where you have to let guys know what you’re thinking.”

    Molitor settled on a lineup nearly identical to Monday night’s, and who could blame him? That batting order produced 14 runs and 21 hits, both easily season highs. 

    “A night like last night, where you get contributions from top to bottom, you hope you come back strong,” Molitor said. “We’ll try to be patient, get some good pitches, and keep it going.”

    With a win, the Twins would become the first visiting team to win a series at Camden Yards this season. Here are the lineups for tonight’s game:

TWINS

 

Dozier 2B

Grossman LF

Mauer 1B

Sano 3B

Kepler RF

Vargas DH

Polanco SS

Castro C

Buxton CF

 

Santana RHP

 

ORIOLES

 

Smith RF

Jones CF

Machado 3B

Trumbo DH

Davis 1B

Castillo C

Mancini LF

Schoop 2B

Hardy SS

 

Bundy RHP

Final, 5/23 R H E
Minnesota 24-18 2 6 0
Baltimore 25-19 0 2 0

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