Berrios tosses gem, Twins blank Blue Jays 3-0
TORONTO — Already down to one healthy catcher, the Twins’ situation behind the plate looked even worse after Mitch Garver was struck in the neck by the splintered end of a broken bat in the first inning against the Blue Jays on Tuesday night.
After being patched up by the Minnesota medical staff, Garver didn’t miss a beat.
Garver went 3-for-3 with a two-run homer while catching José Berríos, who allowed four hits in seven innings as the Twins shut out Toronto for the second straight night, 3-0.
“It was bleeding a little bit, but not consistently really,” Garver said. “It was just like a rug rash scratch, I’d call it.”
Garver’s two-run shot, into the second deck in left-center field off Aaron Sanchez (3-3), was his seventh this season, tying a career high.
“I was cheating a little bit to that one and I was happy to get it in the air because he got under my barrel a few times,” Garver said.
It was plenty of offense for Berríos (6-1), who won a career-best fifth consecutive start as the AL Central-leading Twins got their eighth victory in 11 games and moved a season-high 10 games over .500. The 24-year-old right-hander struck out five in seven shutout innings.
Over his five-game stretch, Berríos has a 2.76 ERA with four walks and 30 strikeouts. He hasn’t issued a walk in three consecutive starts, tying a career best.
“The way I was pitching, that’s the way I’m going to keep pitching for the rest of the season,” Berríos said.
Trevor Hildenberger and Trevor May worked the eighth, and Taylor Rogers pitched the ninth to complete the six-hitter and earn his fourth save. Manager Rocco Baldelli said he considered leaving Berríos in the game.
“When guys are throwing well, you always think of leaving them out there but ultimately you do what is best,” Baldelli said.
On Monday night, it was Martín Pérez who blanked the Blue Jays over seven innings. The back-to-back shutouts are the Twins’ first since June 2-4, 2013, while Minnesota starters have given up nine earned runs in 45 innings this month.
Toronto has nine hits in the two games and was shut out for the fourth time this season, all at home. Blue Jays hitters had a meeting before the game to discuss plate discipline.
“It was about making adjustments and to have a better approach at the plate, stop chasing bad pitches and stuff,” manager Charlie Montoyo said. “I think we’re going to get there. But going back, we just faced two really good pitchers. Berrios is very good and he was on today.”
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. singled off Rogers in the ninth, the first career hit off a left-hander for the highly touted prospect, who has struggled over his first 11 games. Guerrero went 1-for-4.
Twins: Garver replaced C Jason Castro in the lineup after Castro was hit on the right elbow by a pitch Monday night. … RHP Addison Reed (left thumb) began his rehab assignment by working a scoreless inning for Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday, striking out one and walking one.
Blue Jays: INF Alen Hanson cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Buffalo. … Following a spell in extended spring training, OF Ben Revere was assigned to Buffalo.
First baseman CJ Cron was acting as Minnesota’s backup catcher, but Garver said his teammate wasn’t eager to switch positions.
“CJ had an absolute heart attack,” Garver said. “The story is the first thing he did was turn to Wes (Johnson), our pitching coach, and say, ‘I don’t know how to call pitches. I’ve never called pitches before.'”
With Guerrero, Rowdy Tellez and Billy McKinney all seeing action in Tuesday’s game, the Blue Jays have now recorded 130 games played by rookies this season, the most in the majors and the most through the team’s first 36 games since the franchise’s inaugural season in 1977.
The Blue Jays dropped to 1-5-1 in home series.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (2-1, 4.68 ERA), who’s 1-1 with a 7.56 ERA in three career starts in Toronto, starts in the conclusion of the three-game series.
Blue Jays: RHP Trent Thornton (0-3, 4.08) makes his eighth major league start. He has yet to earn a win.