The Orioles used a combination of power and bottom-of-the-lineup production to back Yovani Gallardo's Baltimore debut in Wednesday night's 4-2 win over the Twins at Camden Yards.
The Major League leader in home runs last year, Chris Davis gave a power-heavy Baltimore lineup its first homer of 2016 with a blast to deep center field. Davis, who picked up his first RBI in the process, went 2-for-4 on the night and showed no signs of letting up after signing a record-breaking seven-year deal this winter.
"I notice very early on, I think Chris seems to be in a rhythm about a lot of things in his life. You always wonder how things like that are going to affect people, but early on in the spring, you could tell he was the right kind of comfortable," manager Buck Showalter said. "He had a great spring all the way around, work-wise, engaged and everything. He's been in a good place since he got to Spring Training. He just seems to be in a good rhythm about his life. I'm real proud of him."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Gallardo's Orioles debut: The right-hander, signed to a two-year deal with a one-year option, shook off any concerns of a lackluster spring. Gallardo held the Twins to one run on two hits and three walks over five innings, striking out four.
"It's exciting, it's always a good feeling overall," Gallardo said of his O's debut. "Just had to battle. Got into some pretty deep counts, they fouled off some good pitches. We got the victory, so that's the most important thing at the end of the day." More >
Sano can't handle shallow fly ball:Miguel Sano, who was moved to right field for the first time in his career this season, was challenged in the second inning, when Schoop hit a blooper to right. Sano was playing deep and couldn't quite get it to it, and he made an ill-advised diving attempt that allowed the game's first run to score.
"In that play where I dove, if I stay up, it's not an extra-base hit," Sano said through translator Carlos Font. "I have to stay back. I have to make sure not to give up any extra bases."
Brach, Britton wriggle free:Brad Brach, who relieved Givens to end the sixth inning, issued a pair of walks in the seventh to put the Twins in a threatening spot with two outs. But he responded by punching out Sano, striking out the side to end the frame. Zach Britton -- who picked up the save -- also pitched out of a precarious spot in the ninth, with a leadoff double leading to runners on first and third.
" A lot of guys, seems like the better a guy's stuff is, the more they're going to take pitches," Showalter said. "That's a tough game to finish a game with Mauer. Brach got some big outs, Mychal got a couple. We're lucky we had a day off. We're going to have to start passing the load around a little bit."
Buxton hits pair of doubles:Byron Buxton had one game with at least two extra-base hits in his first taste of the Majors last year, but he matched that total in just his second game of the year. He scored on a sacrifice fly from Mauer in the third after his double, but his second at-bat was more impressive, as he worked his way back from an 0-2 count to run the count full before lacing a double into the left-center field gap.
"It was good," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He converted his first couple into doubles, and his second particularly, he really hung in there. He saw a lot of pitches before he got one out there to the gap." More >
QUOTABLE "It's a little frustrating. You never want to start the season like that in your first outing. Part of the frustration is that I left Fort Myers with all my pitches feeling good, but tonight, my curveball was just all right and my slider wasn't very good at all. So it was a battle for five innings, having only two pitches." -- Gibson, who gave up four runs on four hits and five walks over five innings.
"So far, it's been good. And Minnesota's an organization that habitually through the years has always [had] guys who don't walk people, so it's a real tribute to our guys the last two games. But we have 160 more. So far, so good." -- Showalter, on his team's early high-walk totals.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS J.J. Hardy's fourth-inning double, which was upheld after a manager challenge, was the 250th of his career.
WHAT'S NEXT Twins: Right-hander Phil Hughes gets the nod in the series finale, and he is looking to bounce back after a down year that saw him post a 4.40 ERA in 155 1/3 innings. Hughes lost 15 pounds this offseason, and he is hopeful his improved conditioning will keep him healthy after he missed time with a back injury in the second half of last year.
Orioles: The Orioles will send Ubaldo Jimenez to the mound for the series finale on Thursday night. Jimenez is looking to get back to last year's fantastic first-half form, and the righty last pitched at the team's spring facility over the weekend.