DETROIT – Jake Odorizzi’s dominant run continues, a run that could earn him a trip to Cleveland for the All-Star Game.
The Twins righthander saw his 16⅓-inning scoreless streak end quickly in Sunday’s 12-2 victory over the Tigers. He walked Detroit leadoff hitter Niko Goodrum, who eventually scored on a double play.
Odorizzi didn’t like how he felt in the first inning, and he decided to pitch out of the stretch the rest of the way. With that, Odorizzi eased his way to a 9-2 record and a tie for the major league lead in victories.
In six innings, Odorizzi gave up one run on five hits and one walk with eight more strikeouts. He has an 0.40 ERA over his past four outings.
“Jake went out there again and did something similar to what he has done the entire year for us,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Threw the ball very well. Kept the opposition in a place where if we put some runs on the board we could be OK.”
Odorizzi isn’t a flamethrower by today’s standards, with a fastball that runs 91-95 miles per hour, but he has always liked to pitch up in the strike zone with it. And on days when he sees that opponents aren’t getting around it, he will press the action with it.
Whether it’s movement or deception, Odorizzi is being successful this way. Of the 99 pitches he threw on Sunday, 71 were good ol’ country hardballs. In his previous start on June 2 at Tampa Bay, 84 of his 108 pitches were fastballs.
Come and get it, Odorizzi is telling opponents. He entered Sunday having thrown his fastball 58.7% of the time, with opponents hitting .154 against it.
“I just throw it,” Odorizzi said. “I let everybody else try to figure it out and rack their brain over it. But I thought my slider was good today, got some swings and misses, some weak contact. When I can feed that off of each other and play them off of each other, I think that’s what makes an outing good like that.”
Odorizzi is the ninth Twins pitcher to reach nine victories through a season’s first 64 games. The others: Camilo Pasqual (1963 and ’64), Dean Chance (1967), Jim Perry (1970 and ’71), Jim Kaat (1972), Bert Blyleven (1973), Frank Viola (1988), Scott Erickson (1991) and Kevin Slowey (2009).
Classy way to celebrate
Ryne Harper’s phone exploded with text messages moments after Friday’s game, in which he pitched a scoreless seventh inning and then watched the Twins score twice in the eighth to put him in line for his first major league victory. Harper became the second-oldest Twins pitcher to record his first major league victory behind another 30-year-old rookie, Yohan Pino in 2014.
“It was really cool,” Harper said of the congratulatory messages. “I’m trying not to think too much of it. It was just another day. I just want the team to go out there every day and try to get the W. That’s all I’m concerned about. But I got a lot of texts from guys I used to play with. Guys back home I talk to every day.”
Harper was given the lineup card and a couple of baseballs from Friday’s game. There was also one unexpected gift: He now has a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne, courtesy of Blyleven. The Hall of Famer said he did the same thing after Jose Berrios earned his first big-league victory in 2016.
“It means a lot that he got that for me,” Harper said, “but I’m not going to open it. I’m going to let it sit on the shelf.”
• Willians Astudillo, sent to Class AAA Rochester on Friday, is hitting like a man who doesn’t want to be in the minors very long. Saturday, he went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a walk in a 6-2 victory over Pawtucket. Sunday, he went 3-for-4 again — plus a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning as the Red Wings rallied for their seventh victory in a row, 5-3 over the PawSox.
• Rochester outfielder Jake Cave was named Twins minor league player of the week after batting .417 over the past week with one home run, nine RBI and 10 extra-base hits. He has a 16-game hitting streak after hitting a 440-foot homer Sunday. Red Wings righthander Sean Poppen was named minor league pitcher of the week after giving up just one run over two starts.