BALTIMORE — A couple of extra notes from Camden Yards, before moving on to Pittsburgh:
There’s an unexpected benefit, Miguel Sano says, to all the extreme defensive shifts the Twins used against Orioles left-handed hitters.
“It’s good because I can try to warm up,” said the Twins’ third baseman, a Dominican who doesn’t particularly like the springtime cold weather.
Sano moved to the right side of the infield more than a dozen times on Sunday, and recorded a couple of outs over there, even ranging into left field at one point to catch a Craig Gentry popup.
“I like it. It’s fun, talking to [second baseman Brian] Dozier and Esky [Eduardo Escobar] too,” Sano said. “I try to play decent defense over there. If I think I can catch the ball, I’ll get there.”
The 55-degree weather on Saturday night and Sunday just makes it better, he said. “I’ve got Red Hot [liniment] over my whole body, and when I’m running, it keeps me hot,” he said. “In between innings, I run inside. It’s not easy in cold weather — and more in Minnesota.”
Playing the right side is easier than keeping warm in April, apparently.
“He took the last ground ball in an inning, and he said, ‘Wow. Playing over here is easy,’ “ said Dozier, a Gold Glove winner at the position. “I said, ‘Yeah, that’s why they moved me from short to second. It’s a lot easier.”
Jose Berrios needed just 57 pitches to get through the first six innings on Sunday, and with a 7-0 lead, it appeared a simple matter to finish the game himself.
But it wasn’t quite so easy.
It took the 23-year-old 21 pitches to work through his only difficulty of the day, a bases-loaded ninth inning. He finished with 107 pitches, one fewer than his career high in the majors, and enough for Twins manager Paul Molitor to ask Fernando Rodney to get warmed up, just in case.
“I know that we were checking in after the sixth [inning], seventh, eighth. He said he felt strong,” Molitor said. “We were monitoring him fairly closely there in the ninth, protected if something went haywire. But I wanted to give him a chance. I don’t think Jose is the kind of guy who’s going to say something that’s not accurate. So I trusted him, and he got that last strikeout.”
He whiffed Adam Jones, who Molitor confirmed was going to be Berrios’ final batter either way, on a beauty of a curve.
“It was a battle. I battled really hard and the results were there,” Berrios said of that final at-bat with Jones. “After the eighth inning, [Molitor] came up to me and asked if I wanted the ninth. I said, ‘for sure. I want to keep competing.’ It was my first compete game, and I really wanted to go out there.”