BALTIMORE – Jhoan Duran taught himself how to breathe as a minor league starter.

That might seem unnecessary, since he's been doing it since birth on inherent instinct alone. But being conscious of the way he takes in air, how filling his lungs can affect his heart rate, how shallow or deep or fast or slow his inhalations are can influence his command of the ball, gives him all the power on the mound.

"If I don't throw the ball, there's no game going on," Duran said in Spanish through an interpreter. "So I can control the pace."

Duran was the definition of cool and collected as he pitched a clean 1-2-3 ninth inning, striking out the final batter to ensure the Twins' 2-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Monday. It's not only the rookie's first major league save, it's the first time he has pitched in a ninth inning, period. And it's only the ninth game of his professional career where he has come out of the bullpen.

The 24-year-old Dominican claims he does feel nerves and adrenaline within a game, though there's really no evidential proof of that. He's a stoic presence who hardly lets his face or body language betray what he's feeling. So when the phone rang in the eighth inning informing him that he'd be next up, his breathing likely never sped up, even though neither manager Rocco Baldelli nor pitching coach Wes Johnson had never broached the subject of him potentially closing.

Duran prides himself on being ready for any situation at any moment, but he did admit that coming into the final inning with a game on the line is unlike anything he's experienced.

"Especially when you're not playing at home, and you're playing against a team that is at their home," Duran said. "As a visiting team, it's different. I don't think about it like it's hard. I just come in, try to do my job. And I think that the fans from the other team yelling at me and saying things and being loud as a fuel instead of intimidating or anything like that."

While they weren't throwing in the ninth, the rest of the Twins pitching staff seem to find that same motivation. Starter Chris Paddack held Baltimore scoreless through four innings in Oriole Park at Camden Yards. He let in his only run in the fifth inning, giving up a leadoff triple to Rougned Odor, followed by Ramon Urias' sacrifice fly.

Baldelli said he challenged Paddack by sending him back out in the sixth inning, and Paddack exited after facing three batters and putting runners on first and third. But then Joe Smith came for what's becoming his specialty: facing one batter and quickly inducing an inning-ending double play, this time on his second pitch.

Griffin Jax held the line for a speedy, two-strikeout seventh inning before Emilio Pagan battled through some long at-bats in the eighth. Offensively, the Twins hitters stayed patient through a hitless first three innings against Baltimore starter Tyler Wells, finally scoring in the fifth inning after Trevor Larnach's double and Ryan Jeffers' RBI single.

After the Orioles tied it in the bottom of the inning, Byron Buxton singled leading off the sixth off reliever Bryan Baker, advanced to second on a grounder and scored on Carlos Correa's single.

"These are the games that we're going to remember as a team come October," Paddack said. "One-run games against a big league team, and we came out on top. Those are the ones that could be the difference between winning the division and not."

Baldelli was likewise impressed at the all-around consistent and quality effort from his players at the plate and on the field.

"This a really nice win where we're coming off a big series where we played well down in Tampa, and right off the plane and coming here, there's zero letdown," he said. "Our guys are locked in, intense."

Kind of like Duran in the save situation: breathtaking.