Hardy's slam helps Orioles beat Twins

Baltimore, MD ( - J.J. Hardy's grand slam highlighted a seven-run sixth inning that helped the Baltimore Orioles roll to a 12-8 win over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.

Ryan Flaherty and Nelson Cruz also homered in the rout, with Cruz belting his MLB-leading 35th of the season. Caleb Joseph went 4-for-5 and Nick Markakis and David Lough had three hits apiece.

Wei-Yin Chen (14-4) was the benefactor of the power surge, earning the win despite allowing four runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.

"He had a good look, a really aggressive, good tempo -- the type of guy you like to have on the mound when it's as hot and sticky as it was today," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter.

Trevor Plouffe and Danny Santana each hit two-run homers for the slumping Twins, who have dropped seven of their last eight games, including all three so far in this four-game series. Brian Dozier and Chris Parmelee each had three hits in the setback.

"Knowing that these guys won't quit swinging and quit playing is a really good thing," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "Unfortunately we're not winning a lot of those games. We have to find a way. We need our starting pitching to get better."

Twins starter Ricky Nolasco (5-10) was lit up for eight runs on 12 hits over five-plus innings.

Six batters came to the plate in the bottom of the first, but the Orioles failed to push a run across.

The signs were there after Nolasco gave up two more hits in the second inning, and Baltimore broke through in a big way in the third. Cruz crushed his solo homer to left to open the scoring. Chris Davis then doubled and Hardy walked to set up Flaherty's three-run blast to right.

Plouffe cut the deficit in half in the next half inning, following Dozier's single and two strikeouts with a two-run, two-out homer to left-center.

Adam Jones came up with the bases full with no outs in the sixth and ripped a double down the left field line, chasing Nolasco from the game. Anthony Swarzak got Cruz to ground out before walking Davis intentionally to re-load the bags. Hardy made him pay by crushing a 2-0 offering 10 rows deep into the seats in left.

Flaherty then tripled with two outs and scored when Joseph flicked a base hit to center. An inning later, Jimmy Paredes singled home another run.

Santana followed Jordan Schafer's RBI single with his two-run homer in the seventh inning. Plouffe walked with the bases loaded in the ninth and Parmelee followed with a two-run single to make the final score look more respectable.

Zach Britton was the third pitcher to take the mound for Baltimore in the ninth after Ubaldo Jimenez and Tommy Hunter couldn't seal the deal. Britton got Eduardo Nunez to ground into a double-play to end the game and pick up his 31st save.

Game Notes

All 18 batters in the game had at least one hit ... The Orioles have won six of seven and finished August with a 19-9 record ... Prior to the game, the Twins selected the contract of pitcher Aaron Thompson from Triple-A Rochester.