MINNEAPOLIS — Byron Buxton his second game-ending home run of the season, a two-run drive off Jorge López in the ninth inning that lifted the Minnesota Twins over the Baltimore Orioles 3-2 on Friday night.
Baltimore took a 2-1 lead when Ryan McKenna doubled off Caleb Thielbar leading off the eighth, advanced on Trey Mancini's groundout and scored as Jorge Mateo grounded to Luis Arraez, beating the second baseman's late and off-line throw home.
Luis Arraez singled off Jorge López (3-4) to begin the ninth, ending a string of 21 consecutive batters retired by Baltimore pitchers.
Buxton ended the game four pitches later, pulling an outside slider into the left-field seats for his 21st home run. Buxton hit a three-run, 10th-inning homer off Liam Hendriks of the Chicago White Sox in a 6-4 win on April 24.
Juan Minaya (1-0) retired Austin Hays on an inning-ending foul pop to strand a runner at third base in the eighth.
Minnesota opened a 1 1/2-game lead in the AL Central over second-place Cleveland, which was rained out against the New York Yankees.
Joe Ryan allowed one run and two hits in seven innings with seven strikeouts and a walk, his best outing since returning June 14 after three weeks out with COVID-19.
Baltimore scored off him in the third when Jorge Mateo walked and came around on Cedric Mullins double with a hit-and-run on.
Spenser Watkins gave up one run and three hits in six innings with five strikeouts and a walk. He needed 29 pitches in the first inning and 50 over the next five, retiring his final 15 batters in order.
José Miranda hit a bases-loaded RBI single in the first, but left fielder Ryan McKenna throw home caught Carlos Correa trying to score from second.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde was ejected after arguing with plate umpire Ramon De Jesus after the top of the third inning. Hyde argued with De Jesus for several minutes in between the top and bottom of the inning and had to be held back by another umpire as he was pushed toward the dugout.
The Twins promoted bullpen coach Pete Maki to pitching coach Friday, replacing Wes Johnson, who departed the team on Thursday to take the same job for Louisiana State. Maki, 39, has served as the Twins' bullpen coach since 2020 and previously was the team's minor league pitching coordinator in 2018-19.
"I owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people, to be able to get here, especially the guy who I'm replacing in Wes. I owe a ton to him. He's been a mentor to me," Maki said.
Maki said it will take time to adjust to the new role and get to know the starters. Maki has never been a pitching coach at the major league level.
"Our guys will certainly adapt well to this," manager Rocco Baldelli said. "It's going to be pretty smooth. There will be a period of days, maybe a couple of weeks or something, where you're just getting used to someone's style and the way they approach different things. But these guys spend a lot of time with each other, whether it's out on the field, whether it's when the pitchers are playing catch, whether it's throwing bullpens."
Colby Suggs, the team's run prevention coordinator, was promoted to fill Maki's spot as the bullpen coach.
The Twins selected the contract of RHP Twins Juan Minaya from Triple-A St. Paul. To make room for Minaya on the 26-man roster, Minnesota designated RHP Tyler Thornburg for assignment. Minaya appeared in four games for Minnesota earlier this season, allowing six runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings with five walks and seven strikeouts. Thornburg made five relief appearances for the Twins, going 0-1 with a 2.79 ERA, six walks and four strikeouts.
Minnesota RHP Sonny Gray (4-1, 2.17 ERA) will look to repeat his last start, a scoreless seven-inning outing on June 27 against the Guardians. Orioles RHP Jordan Lyles (4-7, 4.94) allowed 20 runs in 28 2/3 innings in June.
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