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Six-run inning dooms Orioles as birds drop below .500

Six-run inning dooms Orioles as birds drop below .500

All season the Minnesota Twins have relied on big hits from their third baseman, and he came through again.

No, it wasn't Miguel Sano this time.

With Joe Mauer out for the second straight game with back spasms and Sano playing first base, Eduardo Escobar highlighted a six-run third inning with a two-run triple as the Twins beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-4.

Escobar is now hitting .371 since June 4 and .431 in his last 13 home games, compelling the Twins to find a way to get his bat in the lineup.

"The regular playing time, for various reasons he's taken advantage," said Twins manager Paul Molitor, "and he's been a big contributor offensively for us."

Escobar's triple followed an RBI single from Sano and a two-run single from Max Kepler and gave the Twins a 5-2 lead after they had fallen behind in the second inning on Mark Trumbo's two-run homer.

MORE ORIOLES: ZACH BRITTON RETURNS TO O'S

The line drive from Escobar caromed off the corner of the right-field scoreboard and bounced away from Seth Smith, bringing the crowd to its feet as Escobar chugged for third.

"If I would have known I hit the ball that well to where it got away from him, of course it would have been an inside-the-park home run," Escobar said through a translator.

Jorge Polanco capped the big inning with an RBI groundout off starter Dylan Bundy (8-8), whose six runs allowed tied his season high.

Jose Berrios (8-2) gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings. Tyler Duffey, Taylor Rogers and Brandon Kintzler each pitched a scoreless inning with Kintzler getting his 23rd save.

Berrios worked with men on base most of the night but limited the damage nicely after Trumbo's homer. The Orioles slugger was up again in the third with the bases loaded but grounded out to short to end the inning.

Baltimore also had the bases loaded in the seventh against Duffey, but Trey Mancini grounded out to short, stranding three of the Orioles' 10 men left on base in the game.

Mancini made a mistake in the Twins' six-run inning when he tried to force Byron Buxton out at second base instead of taking the easy out at first. The miscue loaded the bases with the 3-4-5 hitters coming up.

"It's just a poor decision on our part," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Just go to first base and take the out."

With the loss, Baltimore dropped to a season-worst five games below .500. They've lost five straight against Minnesota and four straight overall.

"We've been playing lousy, and no one's going to give you any room to breathe," said Trumbo, "so we better get with the program."

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Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

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USA Today Sports

Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison homered Friday night and the Tampa Bay Rays clinched third place in the AL East with a 7-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Longoria led off the fifth with his 20th homer off Baltimore starter Wade Miley, marking Longoria's fifth straight 20-homer season and the ninth of his 10-year career.

RELATED: WILD CARD RACES WITH THREE DAYS REMAINING

Morrison hit his 38th homer off reliever Chris Tillman in the seventh.

Rays starter Jake Odorizzi left his final start of the season after four innings with a sore right knee.

Brad Boxberger (4-4) got the win as the first of four Tampa Bay relievers.

Miley (8-15) lost his fifth straight start, giving up four runs and five hits in four innings. He walked five, raising his major league-leading total to 93. The Baltimore bullpen gave up five more walks.

Trey Mancini had one of Baltimore's four hits. It was Mancini's 158th hit, tying Cal Ripken (1982) for second-place all-time among Oriole rookies.

The Orioles, shut out for the 11th time, lost for the 17th time in 21 games and dropped three games behind Tampa Bay with two games left in the season.

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MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

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USA TODAY Sports

MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

With the MLB postseason only five days away and three more days in the regular season the playoff field is almost set.

After Thursday night’s action, the St. Louis Cardinals were eliminated from the second Wild Card spot in the National League. Their 2-1 loss to the Cubs put them too far out of reach of the Rockies.

In the American League the AL East race is all but done after the Yankees lost on Thursday.

RELATED: NEW MLB BRACKET PROJECTION WITH ONE WEEK TO GO

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Not too many changes in the American League race after yesterday.

The New York Yankees (89-70) lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 9-6 at home after entering the day only three games back in the division. While the Boston Red Sox (92-67) lost too, three games to surpass is too much for even the Bronx Bombers to overcome.

It will be interesting though to watch both teams sweat. Boston hosts the Houston Astros who are trying to overtake the Indians for the top seed in the AL. New York hosts division rivals Toronto.

The Minnesota Twins (83-76) lost to the Indians after allowing 10 hits in the contest. Win or lose it does not matter how they end the season because they will be the No. 5 seed and the visitors in the American League Wild Card Game. Presumably it will be against the Yankees.

AL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

New York Yankees:     +6.0 
Minnesota Twins:           ---
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Colorado was off on Thursday night in preparation for their final series of the year against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Milwaukee Brewers (84-75) did manage to gain a half game with their nail biting 4-3 win over the Reds. Brett Phillips hit a go-ahead double in the sixth inning and the final three frames remained scoreless for both squads.

They now move to two games back of the Colorado Rockies (86-73) with three games to go.

Colorado will host their final series against the Dodgers. Milwaukee is traveling to the St. Louis Cardinals (82-77) for their final three games. St. Louis is now out of contention, four games out of the final Wild Card spot.

FanGraphs.com now has Colorado at a 93.3 percent chance of taking the final postseason spot.  Milwaukee moved up slightly to 6.7 percent.

MORE NATS: WALK-OFF FOR THE NATS, COURTESY OF DE AZA

NL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

#4 Arizona Diamondbacks:  +6.0
Colorado Rockies:                   ---
Milwaukee Brewers:              -2.0