MINNEAPOLIS | Jose Berrios allowed two hits and struck out 11 over 7 2/3 innings as the Minnesota 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.
In Game 1, Nolan Arenado homered and Mark Reynolds drove in two runs to lead the Rockies to a 5-1 victory.
Berrios, Minnesota’s top pitching prospect, beat Cleveland in his 2017 debut on May 13, allowing one run while also pitching into the eighth inning. On Thursday he was even better, throwing first-pitch strikes to 21 of 27 hitters he faced. He issued his only walk of the game to pinch-hitter Tony Wolters with two outs in the eighth. Reliever Taylor Rogers came on to retire Charlie Blackmon on a fly ball.
Brandon Kintzler worked a scoreless ninth for his 11th save in 12 chances.
The Twins got RBI singles from Max Kepler in the first inning and Robbie Grossman in the fourth. They were two of five hits allowed by Tyler Chatwood (3-6), who also walked five and struck out four in five innings.
Reynolds has a team-leading 35 RBIs to go with a whopping 1.008 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. He signed a minor league contract a couple of weeks before spring training, and has been difficult to bench even with first baseman Ian Desmond back from injury. With the interleague matchup, manager Bud Black was able to use Reynolds as the designated hitter.
Still the all-time leader with 223 strikeouts for Arizona in 2009, Reynolds has improved his two-strike approach and balanced his power with better contact.
“I think it’s a big pat on the back to Mark to, over the course of his career, make changes in the type of offensive player he’s become,” Black said.
Twins starter Ervin Santana (6-2) took the mound in Game 1 with the major league lead in ERA (1.50). Santana finished seven innings for the fifth time in nine tries, but he gave up five runs and six hits while walking four.
“They’re very aggressive right now and everything is going their way, so every time you’re behind in the count something’s going to happen in favor of their team,” said Santana, who has walked 12 over his last three starts.
Eleven of the 14 runs Santana has allowed this year have come in his last two home appearances.
The rainout Wednesday night forced the day-night, split-admission doubleheader Thursday and threw a curveball at the pitching plans for both teams.
While Chatwood and Berrios pitched the second game, neither manager expressed interest in bringing any of Thursday’s starters back Monday on short rest.
Twins manager Paul Molitor announced that Alejandro Mejia will start Saturday against Kansas City, leaving options open for Monday. Black was noncommittal for Monday, when the team will play at Philadelphia, but Jeff Hoffman could be recalled from Triple-A for that game.
Rockies: SS Trevor Story, placed on the 10-day DL a week ago with a strained left shoulder, took batting practice before the game and was dispatched to a rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque. He’s batting only .180 with a team-high 48 strikeouts in 111 at-bats.
Rockies: LHP Tyler Anderson (2-4, 6.43 ERA) will take the mound Friday at Cincinnati, with RHP Lisalverto Bonilla (0-1, 4.85) pitching for the Reds.
Twins: RHP Hector Santiago (4-2, 3.80 ERA) will pitch Friday against Kansas City, opposite RHP Nate Karns (2-2, 4.46) for the Royals.