6/10: Twins Use Long Ball, Strong Effort from Berrios to Defeat Giants

Jose Berrios put in a solid effort on the mound Saturday and benefitted from homers by Kenny Vargas and Brian Dozier to lead the Minnesota Twins to a 3-2 win over the San Francisco Giants.

Berrios didn’t have his best outing of the season, but managed to strike out eight batters over 5.1 innings. He allowed just two runs to improve his ERA to 2.84. The bullpen was also very solid by allowing zero runs in a season where it has been somewhat of an issue.

“We’re not running on high cylinders in terms of offense, but then you get pitching like you did today,” manager Paul Molitor told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Jose is not always going to be perfect with his stuff, but it plays. He was in a lot of trouble today, but he was able to dance around it and minimize.”

Giants pitcher Jeff Samardzija made it very difficult for the Twins, but was hurt by the homers from Dozier and Vargas, who led the way offensively. He managed to surrender just four hits in six innings, but fell to 2-8 on the season.

“I’m not putting this on Jeff,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the Star Tribune. “Occasionally you’re going to give up three runs, maybe four, but you have to pick these pitchers up sometimes. We have a hard time, especially here at home. I know this is more of a pitcher’s park, but that still shouldn’t happen.”

Vargas was the first man to hit a home run for the Twins and smashed it 471 feet out of the ballpark. This was the longest and hardest hit homer by a Twins player since 2015 and the third-longest in Major League Baseball on the season. Dozier’s two-run shot in the fifth inning wasn’t hit as hard, but proved to be the game-winner with a distance of 356 feet.

“You’d like to keep that Dozier ball in the park and make them get a couple hits to score those runs. We were attacking the zone and we were down 1-0 on him and tried to throw a good slider for a strike and he put a good bat on it,” Samardzija told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The third inning was very difficult for Berrios, but once again he’s providing consistency in getting himself out of huge jams. He loaded the bases with one out, but managed to get the next two batters out.

“I just concentrated on making better pitches,” Berrios told the Star Tribune. “The pitches had a better quality. The more situations like that I get in, the better I’ll be at them.” 

Berrios also has some insight on the Vargas hit for the Twins.

“That was a huge hit,” he said. “Not a lot of balls get hit that way and not a lot of people can hit the ball that way. Whenever you see that, it’s pretty good. I think it’s just this team, in general. It’s just something special going on. I have to thank my teammates because I didn’t have my best stuff, but it was a good day.” 

The Twins look to sweep the Giants on Sunday in the final game of the series.

Scott Jordahl

[Pioneer Press, Star Tribune]

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