MINNEAPOLIS -- After a sloppy loss on Wednesday that seemed to halt the momentum from their strong series against the Indians, Twins manager Paul Molitor looked for his players to step up in the series finale on Thursday afternoon.Jose Berrios, Eduardo Escobar and Eddie Rosario did just that, as Berrios
MINNEAPOLIS -- After a sloppy loss on Wednesday that seemed to halt the momentum from their strong series against the Indians, Twins manager Paul Molitor looked for his players to step up in the series finale on Thursday afternoon.
Jose Berrios, Eduardo Escobar and Eddie Rosario did just that, as Berrios threw his second complete game of the season, while Escobar and Rosario stayed hot and stole the show offensively for the Twins to salvage a series split with the White Sox in a 7-2 win at Target Field.
"I don't know if I can aptly describe how much of a pick-me-up it is for your bullpen when you can get a nine-inning performance," Molitor said. "Little bit of a lackluster series overall, but we ended up finding a way to split it. There have been a lot of superlatives going in Esco and Rosie's direction as of late, because they've been a huge part of what we've done offensively."
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Escobar crushed a two-run homer in the first off veteran James Shields, while Rosario smacked a three-run shot as part of a four-run rally in the fourth to mark the first time they both homered in a game this season. Rosario now leads the Majors with five homers in June, while Escobar is second with four. Escobar went 2-for-4 and is hitting .458 with four homers and 12 RBIs in seven games this month, while Rosario went 2-for-3 and is batting .360 with five homers and 11 RBIs in June.
"You can tell especially with Esco, with his streakiness at times," Molitor said. "He had a little bit of a lull there for awhile, after a great start, but he's turned it back on. From a guy who wasn't penciled in to be an everyday player, he's been essential to our offense, and Rosie's pretty much been going well from the beginning. I feel like he's going to put a good swing on the ball every time he's up there."
Berrios was efficient -- taking a perfect game into the fifth -- and allowed two runs on six hits, while striking out 10 and not issuing a walk for the first time since April 18. He came out for the ninth despite having thrown 101 pitches, but recorded a 1-2-3 inning for his second career complete game. He gave up both runs in the sixth after giving up a leadoff single to Charlie Tilson. Yoan Moncada doubled home Tilson and scored on a two-out double from Jose Abreu.
"I felt healthy," said Berrios, who has a 2.63 ERA over his last five starts. "I got quite of few pitches -- fastball, curveball, changeup working. That's what I used the whole game. I know in the sixth they scored two runs, but it's my fault. I missed."
Shields struggled, allowing seven runs on eight hits, including three homers. Escobar was the first to go deep with his two-run shot in the first after Rosario doubled with one out. Ehire Adrianza, who doubled twice on Wednesday, added a solo homer in the second.
"Every game, you try to fight," Escobar said. "Today it was something special. Got a quick two runs in the first inning. We had Berrios on the mound so we had to bring the runs for him."
They scored four runs in the fourth with a two-out rally that started with a walk to Adrianza before Bobby Wilson singled down the right-field line and was sparked by a softly hit RBI single from Brian Dozier on a 3-2 cutter from Shields. Dozier's hit had an exit velocity of 56.4 mph and hit percentage of just nine percent, per Statcast™.
It set the stage for Rosario's towering three-run blast down the right-field line on an inside 0-1 cutter. It left the bat at 105.8 mph at a launch angle of 36 degrees, giving it a hit percentage of 73 percent.
"I'm gonna swing," Rosario said. "I want to try to attack the pitcher, make it not easy for him, and I want to try to make good contact every time. I selected a good pitch to hit."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Sherriff Rosario: Rosario also helped the Twins with his arm in the fifth, when Omar Narvaez broke up Berrios' no-hit bid with a double and tried to score on a single to left from Jose Rondon. But Rosario threw out Narvaez at home to end the inning, getting his fourth outfield assist of the year.
"When the ball's hit, I didn't think we were going to have a chance," Molitor said. "But as it unfolded, he saw the play, he saw the distance, he made an accurate throw. If he throws it high or throws it wide, and the trail runner gets to second, you're going to wonder why he did it. But he threw it on the money."
The Twins have done well against Shields at Target Field, as he's given up 13 homers at the ballpark, which is the most by an opposing starter, passing the 11 served up by former White Sox lefty John Danks.
HE SAID IT
"I love Eddie Rosario, man. Every time he comes to home plate, he's going to swing. I'm so happy to play with him." -- Escobar
Right-hander Lance Lynn will take the mound on Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT, when the Twins open a three-game series against the Angels at Target Field. Lynn (4-4, 5.46 ERA) has been pitching much better recently, posting a 3.34 ERA over his last six starts. He held the Indians to one run on two hits over six innings last time out. The Angels will start right-hander Garrett Richards (4-4, 3.25 ERA), and Miguel Sano is expected back in the lineup for Minnesota.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.