SAN FRANCISCO -- Jose Berrios struck out eight batters over 5 1/3 strong innings and was backed by homers from Kennys Vargas and James Dozier to lead the Twins to a 3-2 win over the Giants on Saturday afternoon at AT&T Park.Berrios didn't have his best command, walking three and
SAN FRANCISCO -- Jose Berrios struck out eight batters over 5 1/3 strong innings and was backed by homers from Kennys Vargas and James Dozier to lead the Twins to a 3-2 win over the Giants on Saturday afternoon at AT&T Park.
Berrios didn't have his best command, walking three and hitting a batter, but surrendered two runs on six hits to improve to 5-1 with a 2.84 ERA. He served up a solo homer to Brandon Belt in the first and allowed a run in the fifth on an RBI groundout from Buster Posey.
"We're not running on high cylinders in terms of offense but then you get pitching like you did today," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "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 right-hander Jeff Samardzija was also solid, but was hurt by a pair of homers. He went six frames, surrendering three runs on four hits and a walk to fall to 2-8 with a 4.31 ERA. He also struck out six and has fanned 65 batters compared to just two walks over his last eight starts.
"I'm not putting this on Jeff," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "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 pitchers' park but still that shouldn't happen."
• Belt's homer a bright spot for struggling offense
Vargas was the first to go deep for the Twins with a solo shot to tie the game in the fourth. It was crushed, leaving the bat at 116 mph and traveling a projected 471 feet, per Statcast™. It was both the hardest-hit and longest homer by a Twins player in the Statcast™ era (since 2015), and the third-longest in the Majors this year. Dozier's two-run shot in the fifth wasn't hit nearly as hard, with an exit velocity of 99.6 mph and a projected distance of 356 feet, but proved to be the game-winner.
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Dozier's go-ahead blast: Samardzija had the chance to escape a jam in the fifth with two outs and Chris Gimenez at second after a leadoff single and his fourth career stolen base. But Dozier came through with a two-run homer to left to give the Twins a two-run lead. It was the 10th of the year for Dozier, who had a career-high 42 last year. Gimenez was also the lone leadoff hitter to reach against Samardzija.
"You'd like to keep that Dozier ball in the park and make them get a couple hits to score those runs," Samardzija said. "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."
Berrios escapes jam: Berrios ran into trouble in the third, loading the bases with one out after walks to Belt and Posey. But Berrios rallied back, striking out Brandon Crawford swinging on a 3-2 fastball and Hunter Pence looking on a curveball.
"I just concentrated on making better pitches," Berrios said through a translator. "The pitches had a better quality. The more situations like that I get in, the better I'll be at them."
"That was a huge hit. Not a lot of balls get hit that way and not a lot of people can hit a 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." -- Berrios, on Vargas' homer
"It's evident he's not seeing the ball well. You see the flinching and things that you normally don't see from Hunter. We've got to get him going. He's a catalyst on this club. He's trying to find his way. It's hard to get upset with these guys because I can tell you what, he's giving it all he has out there. He'll find it, but right now it's obvious he's not seeing the ball." -- Bochy, on Pence, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts
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Belt's Splash Hit was his second this season and seventh of his career, putting him in a tie for second-most at AT&T Park with Pablo Sandoval. There have been 73 Splash Hits by the Giants, and Barry Bonds is the all-time leader with 35.
Twins: Left-hander Nik Turley will make his Major League debut for the Twins in the series finale Sunday at 3:05 p.m. CT. Turley pitched in the Minors for 10 years before getting called up to start with left-hander Hector Santiago on the disabled list.
Giants: Right-hander Player Page for Matt Cain (3-5, 4.87 ERA) takes another shot at getting his season back on track Sunday in the 1:05 p.m. PT finale at AT&T Park. Cain has dropped four straight decisions but is unbeaten in six home starts this season.
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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and listen to his podcast.
Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area.