Carroll County Times

Orioles: Twins batter Johnson in debut

MINNEAPOLIS - Steve Johnson was not able to give the Baltimore Orioles the start they craved on Saturday night. In fact, he gave them no more outs than Jason Hammel did a night before.

Johnson was finished after four innings, and so were the Orioles. There was no repeat of the thrilling Friday comeback as Baltimore lost to the Minnesota Twins 8-5 before 32,221 at Target Field.

After allowing six runs to the Twins (16-17) in four innings, Johnson was done.

For the second consecutive night, a Baltimore pitcher could go only four innings, and for the final game of the series on Sunday, the team will add a pitcher to replace Johnson, who was optioned to Norfolk after the game.

Johnson wasn't helped by the brutal weather. Game time temperature was in the low fifties and winds were blowing at 25 mph.

"It's tough to get a feel. Balls are slick," manager Buck Showalter said. "Stevie came out hot and ready to go and started out really well, but he just couldn't maintain it."

The Orioles gave Johnson a temporary jumpstart with three runs in the first when Manny Machado doubled with one out. Nick Markakis singled to drive him in. After Adam Jones singled, Chris Davis' RBI single scored Markakis off Vance Worley (1-4). Matt Wieters' sacrifice fly scored Jones, but Davis was thrown out at second.

Minnesota scored twice against Johnson in the third. Eduardo Escobar doubled leading off and scored on Joe Mauer's double. Mauer scored on Justin Morneau's two-out double. Entering the game, opponents were 0-for-20 with runners in scoring position against Johnson. It didn't last.

"I couldn't get a good feel for my pitches today," Johnson said. "I started off all right and just couldn't make a pitch to get out of that inning. It's unfortunate when the team gives you that lead they gave you to not be able to make a pitch and limit the damage, you know, it's not good."

Wieters hit his fifth home run of the year with one out in the fourth for a 4-2 lead.

The Twins scored four runs in the fourth. With two outs, Escobar walked and scored on Brian Dozier's double. After Mauer was walked intentionally, Ryan Doumit walked, and Morneau's two-run double made it 5-4. Minnesota's sixth run came on Chris Parmelee's RBI single.

"You never want to put the bullpen in that situation. I wanted to go out there and go as long as I could. Unfortunately I couldn't get out of that inning and I threw a lot of pitches. You don't want to put the bullpen in that situation and you don't want to give up the lead the way I did. It's just not good all around," Johnson said.

In four innings, Johnson (0-1) allowed six runs on seven hits. He walked four and struck out three.

"The fastball was fine and the changeup came in pieces but he just couldn't quite get offspeed pitches he could keep them off balance with and big league hitters will eventually get [to]," Wieters said.

In the sixth, Ryan Flaherty was hit by a pitch. Nolan Reimold singled, and with one out, Machado singled to score Flaherty. Brian Duensing replaced Worley and ended the inning when he got Markakis to hit into a double play.

Worley allowed five runs on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out one.

Ryan Doumit's two-run home run in the sixth off Troy Patton gave Minnesota an 8-5 lead.

In two innings, Duensing allowed one hit. Casey Fien retired the two batters he faced, and Jared Burton picked up his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth.

NOTES: Alex Burnett was optioned to Norfolk before the game to make room for Johnson. He pitched one scoreless inning on Thursday. ... The Orioles will likely add a reliever to replace Johnson on the roster for Sunday's game.