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Berrios steps up to get Twins a split with Rockies

INTERLEAGUE

ROCKIES 5-0, TWINS 1-2

MINNEAPOLIS -- If the pitching-starved Minnesota Twins are going to continue their surprising run to begin the 2017 season, they're going to need Jose Berrios to be a key part of their starting rotation.

So far, so good for Berrios and the Twins.

The 22-year-old right-hander allowed 2 hits and struck out 11 over 7 2/3 innings as the Twins beat the Colorado Rockies 2-0 on Thursday night, salvaging a split of an interleague doubleheader between the first-place teams in the AL Central and NL West.

The Twins scored just three runs in the doubleheader, but Berrios (2-0) made his scant support in the nightcap hold up with the best outing of his young career.

"(Berrios) looked a lot like Jose Fernandez, to be honest -- explosive, quick heater, that sweeping curveball that he can turn into a slider," Rockies first baseman Ian Desmond said. "He looked good. Sometimes you got to tip your cap, and I have no shame in doing that today."

In Game 1, Nolan Arenado homered and Mark Reynolds drove in two runs to lead the Rockies to a 5-1 victory. They scored all their runs off Twins starter Ervin Santana (6-2), who entered the day leading the majors with a 1.50 ERA but struggled for his second consecutive home start.

In the nightcap, Berrios showed why he's being touted as Minnesota's next ace. He posted an 8.02 ERA in 14 starts last year, walking 35 batters in 58 1/3 innings. But in his 2017 debut on May 13 at Cleveland, Berrios allowed just 1 run, 2 hits and 1 walk while pitching into the eighth inning. On Thursday he was even better, posting a career high in strikeouts and throwing first-pitch strikes to 21 of 27 hitters he faced.

"The work I put in in the offseason and during spring training and be able to be ahead of the hitters gives me the confidence," Berrios said through an interpreter. "I can tell you guys that I'm 100 percent compared to last year in my confidence. I didn't have that last year."

The Twins got RBI singles from Max Kepler in the first inning and Robbie Grossman in the fourth. They were 2 of 5 hits allowed by Tyler Chatwood (3-6), who also walked 5 and struck out 4 in 5 innings.

Berrios issued his only walk of the game to pinch-hitter Tony Wolters with two outs in the eighth. When Twins Manager Paul Molitor came out to pull Berrios from the game with left-hander Charlie Blackmon up next, Twins fans gave the manager a hearty round of boos.

Reliever Taylor Rogers came on to retire Blackmon on a fly ball, Brandon Kintzler worked a scoreless ninth for his 11th save in 12 chances, and Molitor was able to laugh about the heckling after the game.

"I kind of anticipated it was going to happen," he said. "That's why I called for him early so I didn't change my mind on the way out."

RANGERS 8, PHILLIES 4 Ryan Rua hit a tiebreaking three-run home run and host Texas stretched its MLB-best winning streak to nine games with a victory over Philadelphia.

BLUE JAYS 9, BRAVES 0 Marcus Stroman threw 5 2/3 strong innings and hit the second home run by a pitcher in Blue Jays history to lead visiting Toronto over Julio Teheran and Atlanta.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

PIRATES 10, NATIONALS 4 Adam Frazier had a career-high four RBI, Josh Bell and John Jaso homered, and Pittsburgh rolled to a victory over visiting Washington.

CUBS 9, REDS 5 Javier Baez hit a grand slam, Kris Bryant homered and host Chicago beat Cincinnati to complete a three-game sweep.

BREWERS 4, PADRES 2 Eric Sogard had his second four-hit game in three days and drove in three runs, leading visiting Milwaukee over San Diego.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

TIGERS 6, ORIOLES 5 Victor Martinez hit a two-run home run off Dylan Bundy to put host Detroit ahead in the fifth inning, and the Tigers went on to a victory over Baltimore.

ROYALS 5, YANKEES 1 Danny Duffy tossed seven innings of three-hit ball, Mike Moustakas hit a three-run home run and Kansas City beat visiting New York to avoid a three-game sweep.

Sports on 05/19/2017

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