MINNEAPOLIS – José Berríos received a standing ovation from the Minnesota crowd after a video tribute to his Twins career on Thursday, and another when he was introduced as the starting pitcher from Toronto on Friday night, but two friends – old and new – have spoiled his Twin The return of the cities.
Rookie right-hander Bailey Ober was quite Berríos’ game – and more – following on from his impressive rookie season, while longtime teammate Byron Buxton smashed a two-run homerun in the third inning that proved the difference in a 3- 1 win over the Blue Jays at Target Field. He extended Minnesota’s winning streak to four, including two in a row against a hopeful Toronto team in the playoffs.
“[Berríos] has started very, very well, ”said manager Rocco Baldelli. “Our guys just pitched better today, and that’s really all that matters. It was a good baseball game. It took a lot. Some things we’ve done well with good hitters, and in particular our pitchers the way they kicked the ball.
Much like he did in his Sunday clash against the Twins at Rogers Center, Berríos was mostly his typical miser, racking up 10 strikeouts in six frames. But the Twins hit him with two big swings in the third, when Andrelton Simmons started with a walk before Luis Arraez hit a triple RBI in the right corner of the pitch.
Buxton entered the box, got a curve ball from the first pitch over the heart of the plate, and immediately unloaded center for his 15th homerun of the season, a blast estimated at 416 feet that earned him a shy of his career-high 16 sets in 2017 – but in 87 games fewer. The shot extended Buxton’s hitting streak to seven games, giving him an OPS of .915 in 18 games since September 5, after a rocky start immediately following his return on August 27 from the injured list.
“He’s a guy we know pretty well, a guy who goes out there and competes,” Buxton said of Berríos. “It’s just about getting a good shot to hit and not missing that shot. And he left a good curve ball, and I was able to give him a good swing. “
Buxton has now reached baseline multiple times in three straight games, and while it wasn’t the kind of otherworldly performance that helped him win American League Player of the Month honors in April, his ability continues to avoid strikeouts (he’s been struck out several times in just three games this month) and attacking offspeed throws, in addition to fastballs, continues to show that type of performance doesn’t wasn’t just a hot streak. This is looming ahead of an important offseason for him and the Twins.
“You can prepare for the fastball and be ready for the ball that breaks at the same time,” added Baldelli. “It’s not necessarily easy to do. … He hit him very, very well. Buck’s power in all areas is something I think about [that] he’s always had it in him, but we really get to see him these days.
Buxton’s shot against Berríos gave the Twins a 3-0 lead, and although the right-hander also allowed three points in his start on Sunday against Minnesota, those three were enough to give the Twins a victory thanks to the dominant start of ‘Ober. He kept the Blue Jays scoreless for five frames before a solo shot from Marcus Semien put an end to his effort in the sixth, with the rookie allowing four hits in 5 1/3 frames while striking out six.
Ober used his change and curve more than he did in his Saturday start against those same Blue Jays, when he was scored for four runs in four innings, and the results showed he There was no more than a Toronto hitter hitting base in each of his innings before he handed play to his box, which threw 3 2/3 frames scoreless behind him.
“It was a little unreal,” said Ober. “I certainly wouldn’t have imagined that I would have been up – at least all the time [that] I have been here. But it was great. I’ve put in a lot of work over the last year and a half, and it feels good to see some of this stuff pay off. Being healthy and continuing to learn and improve every week has been pretty awesome.
Twenty starts in Ober’s career, he’s only allowed more than four earned runs once – and by beating the former Twins’ opening day double on Friday, he has shown the future. of the Twins’ rotation was still promising after the exit of Berríos.