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Nolasco struggles as Twins drop another one to Baltimore, 12-8

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The Orioles beat up the Minnesota Twins Sunday afternoon with a seven-run sixth inning that featured a grand slam by former Twin J.J. Hardy, to post a 12-8 win at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

Twins starter Ricky Nolasco, who looked strong in his last start on Tuesday against the Royals, had a rough outing. He gave up eight runs on 12 hits and two walks over five innings to fall to 5-10 with a 5.96 ERA, according to MLB.com. He also gave up two homers in the third -- a solo shot to Nelson Cruz and a three-run blast to Ryan Flaherty. Nolasco has now given up 19 homers in 22 starts this season.

The big hurt came in the sixth, when Nolasco loaded the bases with no outs and Adam Jones brought in two runs with a double. Nolasco was pulled in favor of right-hander Anthony Swarzak, but he didn't fare any better.

After intentionally walking Chris Davis, Swarzak surrendered a grand slam to Hardy. Swarzak also gave up an RBI single to Caleb Joseph for Baltimore's seventh run of the inning, according to the Associated Press.

The Twins got their first score in the fourth inning, when Trevor Plouffe hit a two-run homer. And they made it interesting down the stretch.

Down 11-2 in the top of the seventh, they scored three runs on a single from Jordan Schafer and a two-run homer by Danny Santana.

Minnesota rallied for three more runs in the ninth. Trevor Plouffe drew a bases-loaded walk and Chris Parmelee brought in two runs on a single to right field. But Orioles closer Zach Britton came in and shut down the Twins to record his 31st save, according to MLB.com.

Left-hander Aaron Thompson made his Twins debut in the seventh. He faced four batters, giving up one hit and striking out one, according to the Star Tribune.

The Twins have lost three straight to the Orioles and have dropped seven of their last eight games. The Orioles, meanwhile, extended their AL East lead over the second-place New York Yankees to nine games. The two teams wrap up their four-game series Monday afternoon.

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