Jose Berrios improves to 7-1, leads Twins to win over White Sox
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins struggled so badly last season that even the elite talents of Jose Berrios and Miguel Sano were swallowed up by a club-record 103 losses.
Their skills have sure been shining through this year.
Berrios finished eight innings for a second straight start and Sano homered for the second consecutive game as the Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 4-2 on Wednesday night behind two of their brightest young stars.
After going 3-7 with an unsightly 8.02 ERA in 14 turns as a rookie, Berrios (7-1) has a sparkling 2.67 ERA in eight starts since being recalled from Triple-A.
“There’s a lot to be said about the path that he’s been on. He’s gone deep now a couple times when we’ve really needed it,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Berrios struck out eight with just four hits and one walk against him.
“This year, he’s got a different mentality,” Sano said. “I know he’s working really hard, all season. He comes here to pitch.”
The White Sox had one single over their last 18 at-bats against the 22-year-old right-hander.
“I’m trying to stay humble, stay down to earth, keep enjoying the moment and help the team keep competitive,” Berrios said.
Sano hit his 18th home run, tying the game to start a three-run third inning off a 3-0 fastball from David Holmberg (1-1) with an opposite-field drive to the second deck in right-center . The 24-year-old Sano, on a break from third base to serve as the designated hitter, is third in the AL with 52 RBIs.
He hit 25 homers in 116 games last season, but an ill-fated tryout in right field set a discouraging tone and he batted just .236. This year, he’s up to .291 with a .973 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.
Brandon Kintzler pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the second straight night, notching his 19th save in 22 opportunities. The Twins (36-33) improved to 7-3 against the White Sox this season, using their last-place rival for a much-needed lift following a four-game sweep here over the weekend by division-leading Cleveland.
AL batting leader Avisail Garcia put the White Sox in front with an RBI single in the first inning, and Adam Engel came home during a groundball double play in the third inning after a leadoff double.
But Berrios was in command the whole time with a lively two-seam fastball doing most of the damage.
“Last year, I gave a lot of credit to the hitter,” Berrios said. “This year, I don’t care who is hitting. So I’m trying to think about my pitches and make them.”
NOT FOR LONG
Holmberg lasted only 3 1/3 innings, his shortest of five starts after being promoted from the bullpen. The left-hander gave up seven hits and two walks while striking out four. Two of the four runs he allowed were unearned, due to a fielding error on shortstop Tim Anderson.
Brian Dozier had an RBI double and Max Kepler added an RBI single, as they both joined Eduardo Escobar with two hits apiece. Ehire Adrianza drove in a run and had three of Minnesota’s four steals.
“They were putting the ball in play hard, and they were putting pressure on the defense,” Holmberg said. “I was pitching from behind in the count, and I’d rather it had been the other way.”
Over their last 28 games, the White Sox have only five quality starts of six innings or more and three runs or less.
“It’s not sustainable. It just isn’t,” manager Rick Renteria said.
White Sox: 3B Todd Frazier was on the bench and Garcia was the DH for rest, with the team having begun on Tuesday a stretch of 16 straight days with a game.
Twins: LHP Glen Perkins (shoulder strain) was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis after his latest throwing session at extended spring training and shut down for a week. … LHP Hector Santiago (shoulder strain) and RHP Phil Hughes (shoulder weakness) pitched trouble-free rehab assignments for Triple-A Rochester. Santiago will join the Twins in Cleveland on Friday.
White Sox: LHP Jose Quintana (3-8, 5.07 ERA) will take the mound on Thursday afternoon, coming off one of his best starts of what has been his worst of six major league seasons. Quintana, an All-Star in 2016, is 0-4 in his last five appearances against the Twins.
Twins: LHP Nik Turley (0-1, 12.46 ERA) will take another turn in the rotation in the series finale, despite 17 hits, four walks and 12 runs allowed over 8 2/3 innings in his first two major league starts.