CHICAGO — A couple of extras from a victory that came as a big relief to the Twins:
Jose Berrios admitted that his four-run, six-inning start on Friday “wasn’t that good.” But given how rocky his previous two starts had been, he wasn’t complaining.
Berrios earned his third victory of the season, but only after allowing runs in three of the first four innings he pitched. A Jose Abreu home run in the first inning, in fact, extended his incredible streak to eight consecutive innings in which he had allowed a run, a stretch that ballooned his ERA from 1.63 to today’s 3.98.
“I didn’t know that,” Berrios said. “My previous two outings weren’t where we expect it to be. My team supported me in runs, so it worked out and we got the win.”
After surrendering four runs in the first four innings, Berrios loaded the bases on two walks and a single in the fifth inning, and manager Paul Molitor had Matt Magill warming up in the bullpen. But Berrios induced an inning-ending ground ball from Matt Davidson, and though his pitch count was in the mid-80s, Molitor send Berrios back out for another inning, in hopes of boosting his confidence.
“I thought he was throwing well enough. He was fresh after a short start, and we were in a good place in the lineup,” Molitor said. “I talked to him about going out there. There were three big outs if he could get them for us. To go out and be aggressive — it was one of his best innings.”
Berrios, who got a popup and two fly balls, thought so, too.
“That 1-2-3 felt very good,” he said. “I feel like I gave my team the chance to keep fighting.”
Eduardo Escobar had a great night at the plate, but a bad one on the base paths, not that it was his fault. After a fifth-inning double, Escobar moved to third on a ground out, then saw a surprising sign from the dugout: Ehire Adrianza, it said, was going to put down a suicide squeeze bunt.
“I thought it was a good spot,” Molitor said of the one-out play. “The infield was in, and a ground ball was a high likelihood. I was just hoping we’d get one in play. The few times I’ve tried it, it hasn’t worked out well. But I thought that was a good opportunity to see if we could pull it off.
On a 1-1 pitch, Escobar ran down the line toward home plate, and Adrianza squared to bunt. But the pitch from lefthander Aaron Bummer was well inside and low, and Adrianza couldn’t get his bat on it.
“It’s a tough pitch. It’s a slider in the dirt. It’s hard to squeeze,” Escobar said. “It was a good pitch to get me out, but it’s tough for him. I have to give the pitcher credit.”
Escobar was caught in a rundown, and easily tagged out for the second out. Adrianza struck out a few pitches later to end the inning.
“I told Adrianza, the reason I do that with a guy like you is I know you can do it,” Molitor said. “Let’s turn the page and try to finish the game as strong as you can.”