On Tuesday, Minnesota's Kevin Correia had three straight 1-2-3 innings in the third, fourth and fifth innings and retired 13 straight Blue Jays batters before a two-out single by Adam Lind in the bottom of the sixth.
After Kevin Correia’s latest clunker last week, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was asked about Correia’s spot in the rotation. Minnesota’s skipper gave the veteran pitcher a vote of confidence, saying Correia was going to remain as one of the team’s starters.
Five days later, Correia showed he indeed belongs to stay in the starting rotation.
Minnesota’s right-hander tossed six scoreless innings Tuesday against Toronto, lowering his ERA on the year by more than half a run to 5.60. In the process, he also picked up his third win of the season as the Twins topped the Blue Jays 4-0 at Rogers Centre in Toronto.
"A good bounce back for him," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "A much-needed performance for his confidence, and for our baseball team."
In the series opener Monday, Twins starter Ricky Nolasco wasn’t able to preserve an early 2-0 first-inning lead. With Correia on the hill one day later, two first-inning runs were more than enough support.
It wasn’t quite as easy for Correia as the box score might indicate, at least not early. After Brian Dozier gave Minnesota a 2-0 advantage with a two-run homer in the first inning — his second homer in as many games — the Blue Jays threatened to erase the deficit in the second. Correia loaded the bases with just one out after a walk to Toronto’s Anthony Gose. But Correia escaped the jam by snaring a ground ball up the middle by Jose Reyes to get the out at home plate. One batter later, Correia got Melky Cabrera to ground out to first base to end the threat.
The ball Reyes hit could have easily scored a run, possibly two, if Correia didn’t get his glove on it. But Correia helped out his own cause by turning in a nice defensive play to keep the Blue Jays scoreless.
"It was huge. That would have probably been two runs if I don’t make that play," Correia said. "That changes the outcome of the game quite a bit."
After that second inning, Correia didn’t sweat much before his night was done. He had three straight 1-2-3 innings in the third, fourth and fifth innings and retired 13 straight Blue Jays batters before a two-out single by Adam Lind in the bottom of the sixth.
The Twins sent Correia back out for the seventh inning, but he was taken out after giving up a leadoff single to Dioner Navarro. Correia’s day was done after six innings. He surrendered six hits, walked one and struck out one.
Tuesday’s outing came on the heels of a rough start last week against the Milwaukee Brewers in which Correia gave up five runs on 10 hits in just five innings and blew an early 4-0 lead. Despite that rocky game against Milwaukee, Correia’s ERA over his last five starts is now a respectable 3.90 thanks to Tuesday’s six scoreless innings.
After he was the Twins’ most consistent pitcher during the 2013 season, that consistency has escaped Correia in 2014. He hopes Tuesday’s win can help get him back on track.
"I felt like I’ve been throwing the ball well, and I’m just not getting the results," Correia said. "So you start to question, are you really throwing the ball well? I just stuck to what I’ve been doing. I went out there and I didn’t change a lot tonight. I just stuck to what I’ve been doing and I got a better result out of it."
FOX Sports North’s Jamie Hersch contributed to this report.