With all due respect to Brian Dozier’s three home runs Monday, the decisive blast wasn’t hit by a Twin but thrown by one.
With the Twins up 4-2 and two out in the fifth inning of the Labor Day matinée against Kansas City, Kendrys Morales got ahead in the count 2-0 and then pounced on a changeup from Jose Berrios, smashing it so far, right fielder Logan Schafer didn’t bother to turn around and watch it sail into orbit.
“You’ve got a chance there with two outs in the fifth to hold on, and [Berrios] left a changeup up to Morales,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said with a shrug. “That kind of changed the direction of the game.”
Well, it pointed it in the same direction that all of Berrios’ Twins starts seem to go lately. The 22-year-old gave up five runs on nine hits and a walk over five innings in an 11-6 loss to the Royals, the sixth time his 10 major league starts that he has surrendered at least as many runs as innings pitched. He threw only 10 first-pitch strikes to 23 hitters and gave up at least a hit an inning.
That’s a recurring problem, too; in Berrios’ 10 starts, he has recorded only seven 1-2-3 innings, and four of them came in one game, Aug. 1 at Cleveland.
With that kind of record, the Twins were left to search the rubble for positive signs yet again. “There were some things I thought were a little better today. His changeup was better,” Molitor said. “He got some strikeouts on that pitch. But too many ball ones, too much pitching from behind.”
It’s not just Berrios, of course. Once again Molitor had to nearly empty his bullpen, this time using five pitchers, three of whom gave up a pair of runs. Three runs came on an Eric Hosmer homer off Pat Dean, which explained why Dozier was scowling as he launched his third homer of the day.
“I was extremely frustrated with how we gave up the lead. Not locating fastballs, and leading to walks — you can’t do that against the Hosmers and Morales and guys like that,” Dozier said. “It was just frustrating all the way around.”
Beresford gets his break
Tyler Duffey was recalled from Class AAA Rochester after the game, and the righthander will start Friday against Cleveland, Molitor said. Kennys Vargas is on his way back, too. And a third September call-up seemed to delight Molitor most of all.
“I’m a Jimmy fan,” Molitor said in announcing that James Beresford, a 27-year-old Australian infielder who has toiled at Rochester for four seasons, will make his major league debut sometime this week. “Once in a while, someone needs to be rewarded for everything they’ve done, including playing well.”
Beresford, who signed with the Twins in 2007, is a career .283 hitter over 1,071 games in their minor league system. He batted .269 with the Red Wings this season, playing first, second and third base, and has made a positive impression on the major league team in the past four spring trainings. Yet he has never been called up before.
“It’s been about 10 years or so since he’s been here. He’s gone about it the right way,” Molitor said. “He’s versatile.”
To make room on the 40-man roster, Byung Ho Park will be transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
Sano has seen it before
Miguel Sano was delighted by Byron Buxton’s three-homer weekend series against the White Sox.
“That’s the Buxton I know,” Sano said of his longtime minor league teammate. “He hits the ball hard. He can hit bombs.”