All-Star Jose Berrios shines as Twins’ winning streak hits five
Theres no rule that says an All-Star has to validate his selection. Once youre picked, nobody can take the honor away. But just to be certain, Jose Berrios eliminated any possible second-guessing on Monday.
Berrios lived up to his newly bestowed title of All-Star by bewitching Royals hitters for seven innings, particularly when runners reached scoring position. The 24-year-old righthander limited Kansas City to six hits and no walks, surrendered only one run, and even picked off a runner for the first time since 2016.
The result, thanks to RBI from a pair of Twins who also harbored hopes of joining Berrios at Nationals Park next week, was a 3-1 lead in a game that had not ended by the Star Tribunes press time, and possibly his ninth victory of the season.
Berrios, who received a hearty ovation worthy of an All-Star as he took the mound, retired the first six hitters he faced, three on strikeouts. But he stumbled by allowing back-to-back doubles from Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar to open the second inning, surrendering a run. He didnt allow another ball to leave the infield that inning, though, squelching any chance for a big inning.
And the fourth inning was a masterwork in evading trouble. Mike Moustakas was hit by a pitch to open the inning, and Salvador Perez hell be in Washington, too doubled, sending Moustakas to third. But working carefully, Berrios struck out Lucas Duda looking on a chest-high fastball, a call that so incensed Royals manager Ned Yost, he came out to argue with umpire Will Little and eventually earned an ejection.
After the delay, Berrios got Rosell Herrera to bounce a ball to third base, where Eduardo Escobar snagged it as it bounced past, freezing the runners as he threw Herrera out. And Gordon grounded a ball to Joe Mauer at first, ending the threat. Kansas City was 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position against Berrios.
In all, Berrios threw a season-high 110 pitches, finishing his night with a 1-2-3 seventh, still trailing 1-0.
His teammates changed that for him. Bobby Wilson led off with a double to the warning track in left-center, and Mauer contributed a sharp single to right, moving pinch-runner Jake Cave to third. Eddie Rosario, the subject of the Twins Will you accept this Rosie? promotion in the final-five vote for an All-Star spot, then fought off several pitches before hitting a slow roller to third base, scoring Cave with the tying run. After Brian Dozier walked, Eduardo Escobar, left off the All-Star team despite leading the league in doubles, lined a single to center to score Mauer.
The rally put Berrios in position to try to win his 10th game on Saturday, which would tie him with eight other Twins pitchers since 2001 who have reached double digits before the All-Star break. Trevor Hildenberger pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, setting up a save situation for closer Fernando Rodney.
Danny Duffy matched, and perhaps outpitched, Berrios by striking out seven of the first 11 Twins hitters he faced. The Kansas City lefthander, 5-1 in his career against Minnesota, pitched six shutout innings, but he was left with a no-decision for his efforts.
The Twins added an insurance run in the eighth when Jorge Polanco walked and scored on a Joe Mauer single off reliever Brandon Maurer.
Rodney came on in the ninth inning and got his 20th save.