CHICAGO — Jake Cave knew the hit-and-run was coming, so he was already creeping down the third-base line in the fourth inning Tuesday, ready to run at the crack of the bat. Only … there was no crack.
Bobby Wilson hadn’t picked up the sign, and didn’t swing. Trouble was, Robbie Grossman had already broken for second base, and on the rain-soaked dirt, he knew he was going to be an easy out.
Grossman stopped. And Cave waited to see what would happen next.
“Once I saw the throw down to second, I started leaning that way [toward the plate], because I thought if they were going to throw it my way, then I’ll just stay in a rundown so Grossman can get to third base,” Cave said. “Then I saw [second baseman Yoan Moncada] throw to the first baseman, and he kind of put his head down to try to tag the guy. I knew that was the time to try to make it happen. And it worked.”
It did, with Cave easily beating Matt Davidson’s throw to the plate.
“Great read by Jake,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “I was just hoping Bobby would give us a ground ball that would score a run. When [Grossman] didn’t get a great jump, he decided to go the rundown route, and Jake got a good jump on it.”
Jose Berrios knew he hadn’t been himself over the last two starts. Eight runs, two homers, eight walks, and no outs recorded in the fifth inning.
So he was delighted to change things on Tuesday.
“My teammates had my back my last [two] starts. That’s why we call it a team, the Twins,” he said. “It gives me more inspiration and confidence. I can go five or six innings and have a chance to win the game. I just go out there, compete, have fun, like I’ve been doing all season, and it’s going to be great.”
Berrios spent the last five days focused on getting ahead in the count and trying to have the same release point for each of his three pitches, in order to better hide what’s coming. It paid off with five strong innings — one run, four hits — even though he wasn’t crazy about having five days between starts instead of four.
“I didn’t ask for it, I don’t want it, but they pushed me back one day,” Berrios said. “So today’s my day, and I did my work.”
He did, and even though he didn’t get credit for the victory, he kept another streak intact. Berrios is 7-0 with a 2.63 ERA in 11 starts against AL Central teams this year.