The Twins had runners at second and third bases with no outs in the fourth, following a leadoff single by Jason Kubel and a double by Kurt Suzuki, but Gonzalez retired the next three hitters, striking out Eduardo Escobar and Pedro Florimon to end the inning.

He wasn’t as lucky in the fifth, loading the bases before issuing a two-out walk to Suzuki.

“I don't even know what happened,” Gonzalez said of his second-shortest outing of the season. “I thought I was throwing the ball well, and they were just being patient. The first four innings, they were being aggressive, and it’s crazy to be in that situation, throwing a lot of balls and walking guys. That’s not me.”

The fifth inning began with Gonzalez walking Twins leadoff hitter Brian Dozier, who stole second and then third without a throw as the Orioles employed an infield shift, expecting the left-handed-hitting Kubel to pull the ball.

“That changes the game,” Gonzalez said of the leadoff walk to Dozier. “He’s that type of guy that’s going to try to get you distracted when he’s on base. But it doesn't matter what he does out there. I’ve still got to make my pitches.”

The Orioles bullpen had to account for 3 2/3 innings Sunday and 6 2/3 innings overall in the past two games.

“It’s tough because we want them to be fresh,” Gonzalez said about the relievers. “We try to go as deep as we can. I know it isn’t working out for me, but it will come. Just got to stay working hard and minimize damage and throw strikes when I need to.”

Right-hander Ryan Webb allowed a two-run double to Suzuki — one of his three hits in the game — in the seventh.

Trailing, 3-2, in the seventh inning, the Orioles had the bases loaded, but Markakis’ sharp comebacker was snagged by reliever Caleb Thielbar, who threw to first base to end the inning.

The Orioles were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position in the game.

“We are hitting the ball hard, just nothing to show for it,” Markakis said. “You are going to have streaks like that. You aren’t going to go out there and score six runs every day. You are going to have your struggles. And we got to find ways out of it.”

eencina@baltsun.com

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