MINNEAPOLIS — Dating back to last season, the Baltimore Orioles often have struggled offensively when they can’t hit the long ball.
Instead of homering, the Orioles smacked a season-high seven doubles, including four in a three-run sixth and two more in a three-run seventh to wipe out a 6-0 deficit.
They used four singles in the 10th to score three runs against Twins reliever Anthony Swarzak (1-1). The Orioles then turned the ball over to Jim Johnson, who picked up his 14th save of the season and his franchise-record-setting 35th consecutive save in the regular season, breaking a tie with Randy Myers in 1997.
The Orioles have won five of their last six and are now 3-2 in extra-inning games after going 16-2 in those games last year.
Tommy Hunter (3-1) picked up the win with 2 1/3 perfect innings of relief, extending his scoreless innings streak to 14 2/3.
For five innings, Minnesota right-hander Mike Pelfrey held the Orioles scoreless, allowing just five hits and a walk, before tiring quickly.
Nick Markakis led off the sixth against Pelfrey with a double. Two batters later, Chris Davis doubled him home. J.J. Hardy doubled to score Davis and then Chris Dickerson doubled to plate Hardy.
The Orioles’ doubling trend continued in the seventh against reliever Josh Roenicke, the son of former Orioles outfielder Gary Roenicke.
Nate McLouth doubled to lead off the inning and scored on an RBI single from Markakis. Davis later added another RBI double to tie the score at 6.
They needed the offense, because right-hander Jason Hammel put his team in an early hole.
The Orioles’ No. 1 starter lasted a season-worst four-plus innings and gave up a season-high six runs, leaving in the fifth after failing to retire any of the three batters he faced in the inning.
Hammel was immediately behind on Friday night, when the Twins scored runs in four of the five innings in which he pitched. Hammel allowed eight hits, two walks and six earned runs, and his ERA jumped to 4.93 on the season.
In the first, Jamey Carroll led off with a single and Joe Mauer followed with a double to right that Dickerson couldn’t handle in right field. Mauer added a two-run single in the second and, by the time Hammel left in the fifth, he was down 5-0 with two runners on base.
Rookie lefty T.J. McFarland allowed one inherited runner to score on a groundout, and then shut down the Twins after that.
The Orioles’ bullpen didn’t allow a run in six innings.
— Baltimore Sun