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Aaron Slegers and Jake Cave have been called up from Triple-A
by the Minnesota Twins three times apiece this season Darren
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, and the All-Star break is still more than one week

Their contributions to this struggling team on Thursday night were sure
worthy of a longer stay.

Slegers picked up his first major league win with six smooth innings, Cave
reached base all four times he batted, and the Twins stopped their six-game
losing streak by hanging on for a 5-2 victory over the lowly Baltimore

”I know that I think, and I know Slegers thinks the same thing, that we can
play big league baseball,” Cave said. ”We’re ready to go anytime the team needs
us, and that’s just kind of how you’ve got to think of it.”

Logan Morrison homered and Cave drove in an eighth-inning insurance run with
one of his two doubles for the Twins, who turned to Fernando Rodney in the ninth
for his 18th save following two consecutive blown chances. Slegers (1-0) gave up
only one run, on the first of two homers by Jonathan Schoop.

”It’s fun to have that in the stat column, to be a major league winner,”
Slegers said. ”I can say that for the rest of my life.”

With eight right-handers in the Orioles lineup, except for Chris Davis,
Slegers put his sinker to good use against the second-lowest scoring team in
MLB. The Orioles managed just three hits against the 6-foot-10 Slegers, who was
the latest to fill the recently revolving fifth spot in the rotation. Manager
Paul Molitor stopped short of a commitment, but he indicated Slegers earned
another turn after needing only 72 pitches to complete those six innings in his
first major league start this season.

”Sometimes you make tough decisions to protect those young guys when they’ve
had good outings and make sure they feel good when they come out of the game,”
Molitor said.

The Orioles squandered another quality start by Andrew Cashner (2-9) and lost
for the 10th time in 11 games. They have the worst record in the major leagues
at 24-62, just the team the Twins needed to face to start a season-long 11-game
homestand after a pivotal 1-8 road trip.

Trailing AL Central-leading Cleveland by 11 1/2 games, Minnesota has become a
probable seller before the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31 with several
accomplished players on expiring contracts. Baltimore has essentially been in
that boat since April, with slugging shortstop Manny Machado widely considered
the best asset on the market this summer.


Cashner, one of the offseason acquisitions by the Orioles that suggested
their commitment to contending in the daunting AL East, has had more than three
runs scored for him in only one of his 17 starts this year. He gave up three
runs, two earned, and six hits.

”It’s not like we didn’t want to score for him,” Schoop said. ”I hope things
start changing.”

Orioles starters have received the least amount of run support in the major
leagues this season.

”I probably had the worst stuff I’ve had this season, but I thought I just
grinded throughout the game,” Cashner said. ”When you’re not scoring runs, I
feel like I keep my mind sharp on what I want to do out there and thinking pitch
to pitch.”


Cashner was charged with an error in the third, when he was covering first
base on a chopper hit by Bobby Wilson to Davis and fumbled the relay toss to let
Cave score from second. Wilson eventually scored on a single by Eddie


Rodney struck out Davis to start a perfect ninth, pushing the sputtering
slugger into a first-place tie on the Orioles list for strikeouts with 1,305. He
is tied with Cal Ripken Jr., who played 3,001 games for Baltimore. Davis has
appeared in 972 contests.


Cave, who was recalled from Rochester last week, made a fully extended catch
at the wall in right-center to take a potential extra-base hit away from Davis
in the fourth inning. Cave doubled twice, driving in one run, to go with a
single and an intentional walk.

”He can really flash it out there Duncan
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,” Slegers said.


Orioles: RHP Darren O’Day (strained left hamstring) has been scheduled for
his season-ending surgery on July 12. He’ll need six months to recover.


Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, who has started 80 of 84 games and
appeared in all but one this season, went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. He’s
batting .218.


Orioles: RHP Dylan Bundy (6-7, 3.75 ERA) will come off the DL to start Friday
night. Bundy has been sidelined by a sprained left ankle.

Twins: RHP Lance Lynn (5-7, 5.49 ERA) will take the mound in the second game
of the series, coming off his worst turn of the season. He gave up seven runs in
Chicago to the Cubs in just 1 2/3 innings.

Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch might want to consider giving Jose Altuve
more days off.

A night after he was out of the starting lineup for the first time all
season, the 2017 American League MVP homered twice, including the last of three
straight by the Astros in the sixth inning, to lift Houston to a 5-1 win over
the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night.

Altuve, who pinch-hit in the ninth inning on Tuesday night, said getting a
little break gave him a chance to regroup.

”It felt good. It’s always good to sit down and think about how you feel,” he
said. ”And I came back strong today.”

The game was tied in the bottom of the sixth when George Springer’s 15th
homer this season made it 2-1. Two pitches later Alex Bregman sent an 87 mph
slider from Rays’ starter Nathan Eovaldi (1-3) into the seats in left field for
his 11th home run.

But the Astros weren’t done yet, as Altuve put one on the train tracks atop
left field for the second time on Wednesday night to push the lead to 4-1. It
was the first time the Astros had hit three home runs in a row since May 2, 2008
when Miguel Tejada, Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee did it against the Milwaukee

Altuve got a little amped up after seeing the balls by Springer and Bregman
leave the yard, and once he got in a hitter’s count he was looking for a ball to

”There was a lot going on in that inning and I got a little excited,” he

It was a welcome display of power for a team which managed just five singles
in a 2-1 loss to the Rays on Tuesday night that snapped Houston’s 12-game
winning streak. Wednesday night’s win made the Astros the first team to reach 50
victories this season.

”It was a pretty electrifying crowd after three home runs one after another
after another,” manager A.J. Hinch said. ”Obviously, it was a huge inning for
us. What energy that got put back into the building and also our team. Pretty

Houston starter Charlie Morton (9-1) allowed just two hits and one unearned
run in six innings for the win.

Eovaldi, who grew up in suburban Houston, entered the game 1-0 with a 2.52
ERA in four career starts against the Astros. But he allowed seven hits and four
runs in six innings for his third straight loss.

”It’s just a matter of time before that offense gets you,” manager Kevin Cash
said. ”He was efficient, they made some adjustments, but it was a lot of power
and by that third time through, it kind of caught up. It’s just a very talented

Jake Bauers doubled with two outs in the first inning before Morton walked
Wilson Ramos and plunked Joey Wendle to load the bases. But he escaped the jam
when left fielder Tony Kemp made a diving catch on a ball hit by Willy Adames to
end the inning.

”That’s probably the highlight of the game defensively for us just because a
lot of things can happen there,” Hinch said. ”We’re playing a little bit deep,
it looked like he got a little bit of a late start and then comes in with an
acrobatic catch.”

Mallex Smith singled with one out in the fourth and scored when Carlos Gomez
grounded out and first baseman Yuli Gurriel badly overthrew first base for an
error to make it 1-0.

Altuve tied it up with his first home run of the night with one out in the
fourth. It was the first multi-homer game in the regular season since July 24,
2016 for Altuve, who hit a career-best three in Game 1 of the ALDS against
Boston last season.

The Astros added a run on an RBI single by Kemp with one out in the


Astros: Hinch said RHP Joe Smith (right elbow inflammation) was feeling a lot
better on Wednesday and is likely to throw off the mound either this weekend or
early next week.

Rays: Manager Kevin Cash said INF Daniel Robertson (left hamstring strain) is
doing well and should come off the disabled list on Friday.


Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts after going 0
for 5 on Wednesday night in his first game back after missing more than two
months following thumb surgery. His slump is a continuation of the struggles he
had before the injury and he’s hitting just .135 in 14 games this season.

”Unfortunately, K.K. just got off to a rough start and takes a month or two
months off,” Cash said. ”The numbers are going to be ugly for a little while,
but I’m very confident he’ll get going.”


Rays: Tampa Bay is off on Thursday before beginning a three-game series with
the New York Yankees on Friday. They have yet to announce their pitching
rotation for that series.

Astros: Houston also has a day off on Thursday before hosting Kansas City in
the opener of a three-game series on Friday. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (4-8,
4.15 ERA), who got his first win since May 13 in his last start, will oppose
Royals‘ lefty Danny Duffy.

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