The Twins played nearly three innings Wednesday night at Target Field before heavy rains led to a 90-minute delay, then a postponement. It washed out three successful innings by Jose Berrios.
The rookie righthander needed 29 pitches to get through the first inning against the Tigers, but he struck out Tyler Collins with a 96 miles-per-hour fastball at the knees to end the inning. Berrios pumped his fist as he came off the field.
“It was good for me to get that last out,’’ Berrios said. “It was damage control for me.’’
He then gave up a leadoff double to James McCann in the second but stranded him at third. That made it two consecutive starts in which he didn’t give up a run in the first two innings. In his eight starts before that, Berrios had given up a run in the first or second inning.
Then Berrios pitched a 1-2-3 third inning. He was on a roll — although Miguel Cabrera hammered a 0-2 changeup that would have landed in the seats if not for a strong breeze.
The Twins have tinkered with Berrios’ windup to help his control, and there’s nothing like scoreless innings for positive reinforcement. And Berrios, who began the night with an 8.88 ERA, needs all the reinforcement he can get as he tries to end a rocky first season on a positive note.
Unfortunately for Berrios, the outing officially never happened, because the teams will play two games at 1:10 and 7:10 p.m. Thursday. Lefthander Pat Dean will face righthander Anibal Sanchez in the first game, with righthander Ervin Santana going against Justin Verlander in the second game.
“It’s like it never happened, because it’s going to get washed away,’’ Twins manager Paul Molitor said, “but at least in his mind he went out there and competed well for three innings.’’
The game was scoreless in the third, but the Twins had two men on, two out and Max Kepler at the plate when the heavy rain began. Lightning and thunder weren’t far behind. And the forecast called for rain well into the night.
May had small fracture
Righthander Trevor May was examined by California specialist Dr. Robert Watkins on Monday, when the source of his back problems was found.
May has a small fracture in one of the vertebrae, which he said likely occurred late in the 2015 season. It was hard to detect, so May ended up pitching this season without knowing what the problem was. He thinks it would heal, then break again as he resumed pitching.
There are conditioning and mechanical adjustments that can be made to help get through the issue, and May will be ready to pitch next year.
“It’s just one of those years,’’ said May, who was 2-2 with a 5.27 ERA this season.
• Miguel Sano could return to the lineup Thursday after recovering from a sore back.