BALTIMORE (AP) — Ryan Jeffers hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the sixth inning and the surging Minnesota Twins defeated the Baltimore Orioles 7-2 Tuesday night for their fourth straight victory.
The Twins have won 12 of 13 to move six games over .500 (15-9) and into first place in the AL Central, which does not have another team with a winning record. Minnesota has outscored the opposition 63-25 during its 13-game run, including 25-7 during its current four-game win streak.
Good hitting and solid pitching has played a part. So has the team’s confidence and poise.
“You can definitely see it, and you see it everywhere you look,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “You expect someone to come through and get the job done.”
Jeffers was that person on this night, immediately after the Orioles tied the game at 2 in the bottom of the fifth.
Gary Sanchez hit a one-out double off Joey Krehbiel (1-3), Trevor Larnich walked and Jeffers followed with a drive over the center-field wall. He has three home runs this season, all in his last seven games.
“Drove in some runs all in one swing,” Baldelli said, “which is always nice to see with Ryan.”
Minnesota pulled away with a two-run ninth that featured an RBI double by Byron Buxton.
Twins starter Joe Ryan gave up two runs, six hits and a walk in 4 2/3 innings.
“I didn’t have my best stuff, not my sharpest stuff,” Ryan acknowledged.
The right-hander was followed by Caleb Thielbar (1-0), the first of three Minnesota relievers.
Trey Mancini had two hits and an RBI for the last-place Orioles, who have dropped seven of nine. Bruce Zimmermann worked five innings for Baltimore, allowing two runs and four hits.
“Definitely didn’t have the command that I’ve had so far this year throughout the…