BALTIMORE (AP) — Every once in a while, Miguel Gonzalez looks like the pitcher who won 30 games over the previous three seasons.
Unfortunately, those flashes of brilliance are often overshadowed by an ever-increasing number of shoddy performances.
Gonzalez lasted only five innings against the Minnesota Twins, who roughed up the Baltimore Orioles right-hander in a 15-2 victory on a soggy Thursday night at Camden Yards.
The game began at 9:36 p.m. EDT following a rain delay of 2 hours, 31 minutes. After the first inning, the few thousand fans who stuck it out were invited to choose any seat in the park.
Gonzalez (9-9) initially appeared unfazed by the delay, retiring the side in order in the first. But he unraveled in the second.
After Minnesota loaded the bases with no outs, Gonzalez issued a walk to Torii Hunter. Kurt Suzuki followed with a two-run single, Eduardo Escobar hit an RBI double and Brian Dozier capped the onslaught with a run-scoring single for a 5-0 lead.
Miguel Sano made it 7-0 in the fifth with his 10th home run following a single by Joe Mauer.
Gonzalez gave up seven runs, the most he’s allowed in a game since April 4, 2014. The right-hander has yielded 22 earned runs in 25 1-3 innings over his last five starts.
“That tells you that this game isn’t easy, and it’ll humble you for sure,” Gonzalez said. “No matter how good you are, you are going to go through some tough times.”
Gonzalez looked sharp in the first inning, but couldn’t sustain it.
“He goes through some periods, some sequences, where you’re going, ‘All right, there it is, here we go,’” manager Buck Showalter said. “He just hasn’t been able to string together any consistency that he’s been so good at for us.”
Tyler Duffey took a shutout into the eighth inning for the Twins, who got three hits and two RBIs from Suzuki and Eddie Rosario. It was only the eighth win in 25 games for the Twins, who moved within three games of the Los Angeles Angels for the second AL wild-card slot.
The 15 runs were the most allowed by the Orioles since July 16, 2012, when they gave up 19 to the Twins. Baltimore remained one-half game behind the Angels.
Making his third career start, Duffey (2-1) baffled Baltimore with just enough fastballs to back an effective curveball.
“For the most part it always is my put-away pitch,” the right-hander said. “It’s just one of those things where if you’re swinging, I’m going to keep throwing it.”
The Orioles knew it was coming — and it made no difference.
“He did exactly what we thought he was going to do,” Showalter said, “which is a real tribute to him and the quality of his curveball.”
Duffey coasted until the eighth, when he allowed two runs before being pulled with two outs.
“It started flattening a little bit toward the end after some of the long innings when he was on the sidelines,” manager Paul Molitor said.
Duffey struck out eight, walked none and gave up 10 hits.
Duffey was in New York on Monday when Yankees RHP Bryan Mitchell took a line drive to the face. On Thursday, he said he felt “fortunate” to escape a similar fate by catching Adam Jones’ liner in the fourth inning.
His manager agreed.
“We saw the ugly the other night,” Molitor said. “You can kind of laugh when it happens when you make the catch, but we all know there’s peril there.”
Twins: Closer Glen Perkins (bulging disc) rejoined the club after receiving two cortisone shots in his neck Wednesday in Minnesota. Perkins hopes to be available no later than Tuesday.
Orioles: Steve Pearce (oblique) played DH in a Gulf Coast League game Thursday and will be in the outfield Friday. He is slated to return from Florida this weekend to play in a minor league game.
Twins: LHP Tommy Milone (6-3, 3.65 ERA) starts Friday night, his second outing since returning from the DL with a left elbow strain. He’s 2-1 with a 1.73 ERA in four career starts vs. Baltimore.
Orioles: Wei-Yin Chen (7-6, 3.20) takes the mound for Baltimore. The Taiwanese left-hander is 3-0 in last five starts and 3-1 lifetime against the Twins.