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Berrios, Escobar lead Twins to 5-0 win over Blue Jays

July 25, 2018
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Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Jose Berrios throws against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning of their baseball game in Toronto on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Jose Berrios didn’t fare too well in his first start following the All-Star break last season. This year, a different routine helped put him in a better position for a strong start to the second half.

Berrios and two relievers combined on a five-hitter, Eduardo Escobar hit a three-run home run and the Minnesota Twins beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-0 on Tuesday night.

Berrios was hit hard in his return to the mound after seven days off last July, allowing a season-worst seven runs over 1 2/3 innings in a loss at Houston. He hasn’t forgotten the frustration.

A first-time All-Star this season, Berrios took two days off after throwing a scoreless inning against the National League last Tuesday.

“Last year, I learned from my first start after the All-Star break,” Berrios said. “This year I wanted to do better.

“I don’t feel great when I take a day off,” he added. “That’s not me. But after Tuesday in the All-Star game, I took Wednesday and Thursday off and then started my normal routine. I think that worked because I felt great tonight.”

Berrios (10-7) allowed four hits, three of them singles, in seven innings. He walked one and struck out nine to win for the second time in three starts.

“I think he has a high ceiling,” Escobar said through a translator. “He’s going to be one of the best pitchers in this league eventually.”

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Berrios has a “dynamite breaking ball.”

“Berrios is one of the top young pitchers in baseball,” Gibbons said. “You know he’s not going to give up much.”

Trevor Hildenberger worked the eighth and Ryan Pressly finished for the Twins, who have won two straight following a three-game losing streak.

Escobar went 2 for 4 with three RBIs and scored twice. His double in the sixth was his major league-leading 37th. Esocbar homered off John Axford in the eighth, his 15th.

Blue Jays rookie left-hander Ryan Borucki (0-2) retired the first 10 batters he faced before Eddie Rosario and Brian Dozier hit back-to-back singles in the fourth. Borucki retired the next two batters to end the threat.

Toronto left fielder Teoscar Hernandez dropped Joe Mauer’s fly ball to begin the sixth for a two-base error. Mauer advanced on a grounder and scored on Dozier’s sacrifice fly.

Hernandez misplayed two balls in the first inning of Monday’s 8-3 defeat.

“He’s had a tough time out there lately,” Gibbons said. “That’s never a good feeling. But he’ll keep working at it. He’s a good athlete and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be a good outfielder.”

Escobar and Robbie Grossman followed the sacrifice fly with consecutive doubles, making it 2-0.

Called up from Triple-A Buffalo to make his fifth career start, Borucki allowed two runs — none earned — and six hits in six innings. He has received 10 runs of support over his five outings. Eight of those runs came in a July 13 start at Boston, a game Toronto won 13-7.

PACE OF PLAY

The game was played in a brisk 2 hours, 30 minutes. “Fast game,” said Twins manager Paul Molitor. “The commissioner is happy, we’re happy. It’s all good.”

STREAKING

Toronto infielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. went 2 for 4, matching Al Woods’ 1977 Blue Jays record with his seventh straight multihit game.

TALKING BASEBALL

Blue Jays OF Kevin Pillar, who is on the DL with a right sternocalvicular joint injury, came up to the press box and made a guest appearance on the Blue Jays’ television broadcast.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: RHP Addison Reed (elbow) felt good after throwing live batting practice and could be activated off the disabled list before the Twins return home Monday. ... Utilityman Tayler Motter will be designated for assignment Wednesday to open a roster spot for RHP Ervin Santana, who will be activated off the disabled list to make his season debut.

Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (strained left gluteal muscle) left his rehab start for Triple-A Buffalo after 44 pitches because of a blister on his right middle finger.. Estrada allowed three runs and three hits, including two home runs, in 3 1/3 innings. ... SS Aledmys Diaz (left thumb) missed his second straight game. He is day-to-day. ... The Blue Jays moved suspended RHP Roberto Osuna from Class-A Dunedin to Triple-A. Osuna is eligible to return August 5. ... Toronto optioned LHP Tim Mayza to Triple-A to make room for Borucki.

UP NEXT

Santana will start Wednesday afternoon’s series finale against Blue Jays RHP Sam Gaviglio (2-3, 4.59). Santana had surgery on his right middle finger in February. Gaviglio is winless in 10 starts.

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