MINNEAPOLIS — Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles had no choice but to try to forget this one as quickly as they could.
Their strong start to this season, though, is becoming more of a distant memory, too.
Denard Span had three hits and five RBIs, plus two highlight-reel catches in center field to help the Minnesota Twins stop their five-game losing streak and beat the Orioles 19-7 on Monday night.
"File this away as, 'Oh, well,'" said Mark Reynolds, whose two-out error in the first inning led to six unearned runs against Tillman.
Ben Revere made two remarkable running grabs himself in right field to go with four hits and three RBIs, Joe Mauer homered and drove in two runs and Justin Morneau had four of Minnesota's 20 hits.
Tillman (1-1) gave up seven runs in the first and didn't finish the inning, the shortest appearance by an Orioles starter since Zach Britton got only one out last July 30 against the Yankees in New York.
Britton, coincidentally, is scheduled to make his 2012 debut here on Tuesday night.
"Zach's capable," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Hope it starts tomorrow."
Reynolds hit a three-run homer off Scott Diamond (8-3), but the Twins starter won his third straight decision thanks to the big early lead.
"Just one of those nights. You've got to tip your hats to them," Reynolds said.
The Orioles and Twins sure packed a lot into this matchup, including a balk, an infield fly rule call and even a two-run infield single. That came courtesy of Revere, whose grounder up the middle skipped off second base in front of shortstop J.J. Hardy, who couldn't grab it in time to throw Span out at home and keep the Twins from taking a 10-2 lead in the third.
Span made a sprinting, sliding catch of a sinking liner to steal a single from Steve Tolleson in the sixth and sped back to nab J.J. Hardy's drive against the bullpen wall in the seventh. Revere also took an extra-base hit from Hardy with his second long run of the night, in the fifth.
Showalter tried to downplay the effect of Revere's first catch.
"You give up 19 runs," the manager said, "you don't make one play a ballgame."
After such an unfamiliarly strong start, threatening to not only snap that ugly streak of 14 straight losing seasons but make the playoffs, the Orioles have slid back toward the .500 mark largely because of a crumbling rotation. Only Wei-Yin Chin is currently in action from the opening day quintet. In four of their last eight games, the starter has gone just four innings or fewer. The Orioles fell out of the lead in the crowded race for the second wild-card spot.
Tillman turned in a stellar start for the Orioles on July 4, surrendering only two hits and two unearned runs over a career-high 8 1/3 innings at Seattle, but this time was just the opposite of that.
"I'll forget about it. I know what I need to do to get better. I didn't do it tonight. It comes down to being consistent," Tillman said. "The fastball was OK. I just wasn't able to throw the breaking pitches for strikes so they were able to sit on the heater wherever it was. That equation doesn't come out very well."
Baseball games are rarely determined so early, but a pair of plays in the field in the first inning essentially decided this one.
With two on and none out, Adam Jones drove what would've been a double or a triple hard down the right-field line, but Revere raced toward the corner and came up with a fully outstretched catch to freeze the runners. Then, Matt Wieters bounced into a double play, keeping the Orioles from scoring at all.
In the bottom of the frame, Revere doubled and scored on Mauer's single. The Twins eventually loaded the bases, but Tillman had two outs and a full count on Ryan Doumit. On the eighth pitch of his at-bat, Doumit hit a chopper to first base that Reynolds awkwardly lunged toward with his backhand. The ball glanced off the edge of his glove, allowing two men to score and paving the way for Span's three-run double that capped the inning.Comment on this story
"It's just one of those reaction plays where maybe some of my third-base instincts kicked in where I scoop up everything I can get," Reynolds said. "Looking back on it, I should've just let it go and covered first. Obviously it was a tone-setter."
NOTES: The Orioles lost to the Twins for the first time since May 9, 2010. ... The Orioles still haven't named a starter for Wednesday to fill RH Jason Hammel's spot. Hammel had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Monday. ... LH Dana Eveland cleared waivers and was outrighted to Norfolk by the Orioles.