The visiting Minnesota Twins hope their revived offense stays hot Saturday afternoon when they face one of their former pitchers, Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Jose Berrios.
The depleted Twins hit five home runs Friday night en route to a 9-3 victory in the opener of a three-game series. Minnesota snapped a three-game losing streak while stopping Toronto’s season-best winning streak at eight games.
The Twins had scored a total of two runs in their previous three games, all against the Detroit Tigers. They broke out of the drought Friday with two homers and three RBIs each from Kyle Garlick and Jose Miranda and a two-run shot from Byron Buxton. Garlick and Buxton each had three hits.
“We really came alive,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Our guys just didn’t stop, and it was great to see.”
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said, “Today was the first time that everybody struggled. The pitching struggled, we didn’t really hit, and that’s why we lost the game.”
George Springer, who missed the two previous games because of a non-COVID illness, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. homered for Toronto.
The Twins are scheduled to start right-hander Dylan Bundy (3-2, 4.76 ERA) on Saturday against Berrios (3-2, 5.62).
Berrios pitched for the Twins from 2016-2021 going 55-43 with a 4.08 ERA before they traded him to the Blue Jays last July 30. He has faced the Twins twice since the deal, going 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA.
Bundy has faced Toronto 16 times (12 starts), going 5-4 with a 3.27 ERA. He is 4-1 with a 3.89 ERA in seven career appearances (six starts) at Toronto.
Twins third baseman Gio Urshela twisted his right foot while being picked off second base in the fourth inning and left the game in the middle of the fifth. He is listed as day-to-day.
Garlick was removed late in the game as a precaution after tweaking his left hamstring.
The Twins, who already were without shortstop Carlos Correa (COVID-19 injured list), placed outfielder Max Kepler, right-handers Trevor Megill and Emilio Pagan and left-hander Caleb Thielbar on the restricted list Friday because they did not meet Canada’s vaccine requirements.
Right-handers Jharel Cotton, Chi Chi Gonzalez and Ian Hamilton and outfielder Mark Contreras were promoted from Triple-A Saint Paul.
Cotton retired all six batters he faced Friday to pick up the win. Gonzalez made the start and allowed three runs in three innings during his Twins debut.
Outfielder Gilberto Celestino, who has recovered from COVID-19, rejoined the Twins in Toronto. Baldelli said Celestino likely would play in a game soon.
“He’s doing good,” Baldelli said. “He’s got two full days of workouts behind him.”
The Blue Jays announced on Friday that left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu would be out for several weeks due to a forearm strain and an elbow inflammation. Right-hander Ross Stripling, who has been used as both a starter and a reliever this season, will take Ryu’s place in the rotation.
Stripling has a 4.22 ERA in five starts and eight relief appearances. His move to the rotation opens an opportunity for relievers Jeremy Beasley and Trent Thornton, both promoted from Triple-A Buffalo this week, to step up to fill the gap.
“Guys like Trent, all of them need to step up,” Montoyo said after the Friday game. “They’re going to get their chance.”
Beasley got an opportunity on Friday, and he allowed two runs in 1 2/3 innings.
–Field Level Media