BALTIMORE (AP) — In the first game of the season in which Chris Davis failed to hit a home run, he still managed to make a play that influenced the final outcome.
Unfortunately for Davis and the Baltimore Orioles, his error led to the pivotal run in the Minnesota Twins’ 6-5 victory Saturday night.
Justin Morneau singled in the tiebreaking run with two outs in the ninth inning after Davis botched a grounder, and the Twins got a home run from Chris Parmalee in their first win in Baltimore since April 21, 2011.
“Wins are good anywhere,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “This is a tough league over here. This whole division is tough, and there are a lot of good baseball teams in it. You can’t make too many mistakes against these people.”
Although Davis picked up his 17th RBI, he failed to become the first player in major league history to homer in the first five games of the season.
“I wasn’t actually thinking I need to hit a homer,” he said. “My mindset was more, drive in runs. Homers come and go, they come in bunches.”
His error was the first of the season, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time.
With the score tied at 5, Baltimore turned to closer Jim Johnson (0-1) in the ninth. Davis let a one-out groundball by Aaron Hicks roll through his legs, and after a two-out walk to Josh Willingham, Morneau singled up the middle.
“My glove was down, my head was down the ball just went right through my legs,” Davis said. “Just one of those things.”
Of course, if Morneau didn’t become the first Twins player to get three hits in a game this season, the error wouldn’t have mattered.
“I don’t know if he was trying to come in there or not. It was a pretty good pitch to hit — right over the plate,” Morneau said. “I tried to keep it simple and get a good swing on it and take my chances. That was an at-bat where I was just trying not to do too much.”
It was Johnson’s first loss since last July 27.
Josh Roenicke (1-0) pitched three innings of one-hit relief and Glen Perkins got three straight outs for his first save.
Orioles starter Chris Tillman allowed five runs, seven hits and four walks in 3 2-3 rocky innings. Activated off the disabled list before the game after being sidelined with an abdominal strain, Tillman needed 93 pitches to get 11 outs.
“I felt good throughout the game,” Tillman said. “I need to stay away from the middle of the plate and make better quality pitches.”
Tillman was replaced by T.J. McFarland, a Rule 5 signee making his major league debut. The 23-year-old lefty allowed one hit and struck out five over 3 1-3 innings.
Twins starter Vance Worley gave up four earned runs and 10 hits in five innings. It was the first time in eight career starts in April that he failed to go at least six innings.
The Orioles scored two first-inning runs with help from Minnesota’s defense. After Manny Machado singled with one out, Nick Markakis hit a sinking liner to left that eluded a diving Willingham, who tried to locate the loose ball as Markakis reached second base.
Adam Jones then hit a swinging bunt that scored Machado, and Markakis came home after Worley’s late, off-target throw to first base.
“That’s one run they wouldn’t have had if I just ate it,” Worley said.
Minnesota closed to 2-1 in the second on a sacrifice fly by Brian Dozier, but Hicks struck out with the bases loaded and two outs.
The Twins took the lead with a four-run third. Ryan Doumit singled in a run and Trevor Plouffe hit a sacrifice fly before Parmalee drove a 3-0 pitch over the right-field wall.
Davis singled in a run in the bottom half, and Baltimore tied it at 5 in the fifth with four straight singles, the last by Jones to drive in two runs.
NOTES: The Twins scratched right-hander Cole De Vries (strained right forearm) from his scheduled start on Sunday, and will place him on the 15-day disabled list and recall Pedro Hernandez from Triple-A Rochester to start the series finale. Jason Hammel (1-0) is scheduled to start for Baltimore. … Former Twins star Bert Blyleven, now an announcer with the team, turned 62 on Saturday. … To make room for Tillman, the Orioles optioned INF Yamaico Navarro to Triple-A Norfolk. … Prior to this game, the Orioles had not given up a run before the fourth inning. … Hicks went 0 for 5 and has one hit in 22 at-bats this season.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)