For those fans who were wondering if they were going to get the good Ubaldo Jimenez or the bad one on Thursday night, they got both in the course of the Orioles’ rain-delayed, series-sweeping 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins before 11,142 at Camden Yards.
Jimenez got off to a rocky start, allowing a run in each of the first two innings, but he worked out of another jam in the third and then settled down to overpower the Twins over his last four innings of work. He was charged with just one earned run and piled up nine strikeouts, but would not be in line for the decision until the Orioles scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to take the lead.
That was the inning that was interrupted by a 21-minute rain delay, which came after Mark Trumbo and J.J. Hardy opened up with back-to-back singles to bring Twins manager Paul Molitor out of the dugout. He was going out to get starter Phil Hughes just as the sudden cloudburst convinced the umpires to call for the tarp.
Hughes pitched well, giving up three runs over six innings, but reliever Trevor May could not hold a one-run lead, allowing Trumbo to score on a wild pitch and giving up a go-ahead single to Jonathan Schoop.
Rookie Joey Rickard, a Rule 5 draft pick, put the cherry on top when he led off the eighth with his first major league home run and was rewarded by the small crowd with a curtain call.
Darren O'Day struck out the side in the ninth to get the save.
Reimold’s 2016 debut: Outfielder Nolan Reimold got his first opportunity to start this season and made the most of it. He batted second behind Rickard and hit safely in his first two at-bats -- grounding a single up the middle in the first inning and pulling a sharp double down the left field line to lead off the fourth. The Orioles had runners at first and third with no outs in that inning but Twins starter Phil Hughes worked out of trouble against the dangerous middle of the O’s lineup.
Manny’s happy returns: Third baseman Manny Machado had just two singles in his first 10 at-bats this season, but he doubled his hit total with a single in the fourth inning and a solo home run in the sixth that got the Orioles on the scoreboard for the first time.
Mauer’s first mash: Twins first baseman Joe Mauer greeted Jimenez rudely, going deep with two outs in the first inning for his first home run of the young season. It could have been worse, but catcher Caleb Joseph threw out Danny Santana attempting to steal second just moments before Mauer’s blast. Joseph also would throw out pinch runner Eduardo Nunez in a key eighth-inning situation.
Santana’s revenge: Santana didn’t let the caught stealing ruin his night. He singled in each of his first two at-bats and succeeded in stealing second off Joseph in the third inning. He also got to the center field fence just in time to rob Schoop of a possible home run in the fifth inning. It’s unclear whether Schoop’s towering drive would have cleared the fence, but Santana went a long way to make sure it didn’t.