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Manny Machado Shines, But Orioles Squander Six-Run Lead

July 8, 2017
Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado hit two home runs as part of a four-hit night, but the Orioles squandered a 6-0 lead in the middle innings to the Minnesota Twins and lost, 9-6, in Minneapolis, Minn. July 7.

Baltimore, which fell to 40-46 on the season, is now 15-30 on the road and has lost seven of its past eight contests, including five straight.

Orioles right fielder Seth Smith and Machado led off the game with solo home runs to right field off Twins rookie starter Felix Jorge. Baltimore took a 2-0 lead into the third inning, when Machado hit a three-run homer to left field. First baseman Trey Mancini followed later in the frame with a run-scoring single to bump the Orioles' lead to 6-0.

Baltimore starting pitcher Kevin Gausman breezed through the first three innings of the ballgame on 42 pitches, facing just 10 batters. But after retiring the leadoff hitter in the fourth inning, the young right-hander ran into trouble. Gausman fell victim to infield singles by Miguel Sanó and Max Kepler, and Kennys Vargas loaded the bases with a single of his own. Eddie Rosario drove in Sanó with a single, and Gausman hit Chris Gimenez with a breaking ball to force in another run, trimming the lead to 6-2.

Gausman struck out the next two hitters to escape the frame with a four-run lead intact, but the inning required 44 pitches. Gausman found more trouble in the fifth inning. The first four hitters -- Brian Dozier, Robbie Grossman, Sanó and Kepler -- all reached, with porous defense contributing. With his club clinging to a 6-4 lead, Gausman was removed from the game. Run-scoring base hits by Vargas and Gimenez later in the inning off Orioles reliever Miguel Castro gave Minnesota a 7-6 lead they wouldn't relinquish. 

The Orioles had a chance to tie or retake the lead in the sixth inning, but singles by Mancini and Hyun Soo Kim to lead off the frame went nowhere. Machado missed a game-tying homer by inches in the seventh, but was held to a single and later erased on a double play. The Twins' bullpen threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Jorge, who recorded just eight outs.

Minnesota added onto its lead with two runs off Baltimore lefty Zach Britton in the bottom of the eighth.

The Orioles will look for their first win of the season against the Twins July 8 at 2:10 p.m. Baltimore lefty Wade Miley (3-7, 5.20 ERA) will face Minnesota rookie left-hander Adalberto Mejia (4-3, 4.32 ERA).