Berrios, Escobar lead Twins to 5-0 win over Blue Jays
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 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.”
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.
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.”
Toronto infielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. went 2 for 4, matching Al Woods’ 1977 Blue Jays record with his seventh straight multihit game.
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.
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.
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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