- Associated Press - Sunday, August 31, 2014

BALTIMORE (AP) - The Minnesota Twins put on an offensive show that was good enough to beat most teams.

It didn’t come close to offsetting a long-ball barrage by the Baltimore Orioles.

J.J. Hardy contributed his fourth career grand slam to a seven-run sixth inning, Nelson Cruz hit his major league-leading 35th home run and Ryan Flaherty also connected for Baltimore in a 12-8 victory Sunday.

Trevor Plouffe and Danny Santana hit two-run homers for the Twins, who have lost seven of eight and been outscored 24-11 in this series. Minnesota yielded 18 hits and at one point trailed 11-2.

“It’s a great-hitting baseball team over there,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “If you get the ball out over the plate they’re going to kill you.”

Minnesota lost 9-1 on Friday night and dropped a 3-2 decision on Saturday before absorbing another beating on Sunday.

Baltimore will seek to complete its first four-game home sweep of the Twins on Monday. The Orioles did, however, take all five games of a home series with Minnesota in 1966.

Ricky Nolasco (5-10) gave up eight runs and 12 hits over five-plus innings. He has lost four straight and is winless on the road since May 30.

“You are going to make mistakes. There are days you are going to get away with them and days you’re not,” the right-hander said. “This team is very dangerous, especially in this ballpark, and they showed that today.”

Wei-Yin Chen (14-4) allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings for Baltimore. The left-hander is 7-1 in 10 starts since June 28.

Minnesota made it interesting by scoring three runs in the ninth before Zach Britton served up a double-play ball for his 31st save.

“We’re not a team that’s just going to roll over,” Plouffe said.

The Orioles left the bases loaded in the first inning and stranded runners on the corners in the second. In the third, however, Nolasco couldn’t escape.

Cruz homered, Chris Davis doubled and Hardy walked before Flaherty sent a 1-0 pitch over the 25-foot scoreboard in right field.

Plouffe homered in the fourth before the Orioles went up 11-2 with their most productive inning of the year.

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