For three innings Saturday, it looked like Jose Berrios was going to back up his three-hit shutout from Sunday at Baltimore — and then some.
The Twins righthander tore through the Seattle batting order the first time through, retiring all nine batters he faced with ease, including four strikeouts.
“The first time around, the game plan was throw inside and attack inside,” he said.
He did so with plenty of fastballs. He threw only a handful of changeups Saturday, which might have victimized him the second time through the batting order.
In the fourth inning, he gave up an RBI single to Robinson Cano, followed by a two-run homer to Kyle Seager on a 3-1 fastball. The Mariners then scored two more runs in the fifth inning on Dee Gordon’s two-run single to center.
“I thought Jose threw the ball fairly well,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said after his team lost 11-4 at Target Field. “He got behind a couple good hitters.
“The 3-1 pitch to Seager was the one that hurt him the most.”
Molitor acknowledged that Berrios worked on establishing his fastball Saturday. What wasn’t clear was why he didn’t use his changeup more.
“The plan was fastballs inside,” said Berrios, who struck out seven in 4⅔ innings. “I didn’t throw the changeup a lot, but that was the game plan. And it just didn’t work out today.”
What’s next for Hughes?
Molitor noted that righthander Phil Hughes gave up three runs on eight hits and a walk in five innings Thursday in a rehab start at Class A Fort Myers. Hughes actually touched 94 miles per hour on the radar gun with his fastball, which encouraged him.
“Means his arm strength is good,” Molitor said.
The Twins could use a fifth starter Wednesday when they face Houston — or will they?
If Sunday’s game is rescheduled because of weather, which seems quite possible, Lance Lynn can be pushed back to Monday against the Astros. He would be followed by Jake Odorizzi on Tuesday then Kyle Gibson on Wednesday.
Berrios could start on Thursday when the White Sox come to town. The Twins would need a someone to start Friday, however, and could use Hughes then.
Molitor appeared to be thinking that way when talking about the next steps with Hughes.
“He’s still on a rehab assignment,” Molitor said, “so we’ll just have to see how that plays out with the weather and the games being played here the next couple days.”
Hardware for Molitor
Molitor on Saturday was recognized for being named AL Manager of the Year last year by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Molitor, while holding the award, posed with former Twins manager Tom Kelly, who won the award in 1991.
As is typical of Molitor, he looked to deflect the credit as he talked about the award.
“For any manager to be in that conversation and have a chance to take home that hardware, other people did their jobs really well,” Molitor said. “We got the right people on the field. They performed. It’s just one of those things where you’re not just blowing smoke. It’s one of those things you can spread around and everyone can feel a part of it.”
• The Twins were trying to send Ervin Santana to New York for a checkup on the All-Star righthander’s surgically repaired right middle finger. But the Twins doctors have decided to take a look for themselves. So Santana will fly from Florida to the Twin Cities on Tuesday for the checkup.
• Reliever Tyler Kinley, a Rule 5 draft pick, made his major league debut, pitching the ninth inning.
• Outfielder Ryan LaMarre got his first major league RBI with a pinch-hit single in the ninth inning.