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Odorizzi sets tone as Twins win 5th straight

Special to MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Jake Odorizzi is proving that he can go home again.

Odorizzi, who grew up 30 miles northeast of St. Louis in Highland, Ill., held the Cardinals to just two hits over five innings in a 7-1 Twins victory on Tuesday afternoon at Busch Stadium.

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ST. LOUIS -- Jake Odorizzi is proving that he can go home again.

Odorizzi, who grew up 30 miles northeast of St. Louis in Highland, Ill., held the Cardinals to just two hits over five innings in a 7-1 Twins victory on Tuesday afternoon at Busch Stadium.

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"I kind of treat it as a business trip for me," Odorizzi said. "I usually don't go out and do a bunch of stuff with family and friends. If you see one person you should see them all, that sort of thing, so I just try to keep it all baseball."

Odorizzi (3-2), who bought 16 tickets for family and friends, retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced as the Twins won their season-high fifth game in a row. His only mistake was missing with a fastball to Jose Martinez, who hit it over the center-field wall for a solo homer in the first.

Video: MIN@STL: Jose Martinez drills solo homer in 1st

"It was a situation with two out, nobody on, he was trying to elevate," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think he got it over the middle of the plate too much, and the guy didn't miss it. He settled back in."

Odorizzi even helped himself at the plate with a pair of sacrifices, the last of which led to a run. He improved to 2-0 in three career starts at Busch Stadium and lowered his ERA in St. Louis to 3.19.

"I think pitching here for him is probably pretty special," Molitor said. "I don't know if he liked that I made him bunt a couple times -- I think he may have liked to get some swings -- but he's walking away, did his job and executed a couple of those."

Robbie Grossman's two-run double in the fifth gave the Twins a 4-1 lead. Grossman, after collecting three hits on Monday, reached three times Tuesday, including a pair of walks. Eduardo Escobar's upper-deck, 403-foot, two-run homer to left in the seventh put the game out of reach, and Eddie Rosario also reached three times and scored three runs. He ran his hitting streak to nine games, and he has hit safely in 11 of his last 12.

Video: MIN@STL: Escobar skies a 2-run homer in the 7th

"We just played good baseball all the way around," Grossman said. "We pitched it, we hit it and played good defense, and that's the recipe for winning games."

Ryan Pressly, Taylor Rogers and Phil Hughes combined for four scoreless, hitless innings in relief. The Twins' bullpen, which struggled to begin the season, didn't surrender a run in seven innings in the two-game series, entering the set with a 5.56 ERA and leaving Busch Stadium with a 5.24 mark.

Video: MIN@STL: Hughes forces a groundout to cap off a win

"We have a tendency to make a big deal about small sample sizes, especially early in the year," Molitor said. "We have guys who have resumes, they've done it before, and it's starting to show up more consistently."

Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez (3-2) lasted just five innings, his shortest outing since Opening Day, when he took his only other loss of the season against Noah Syndergaard and the Mets. Only two of the four runs he allowed Tuesday were earned.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rosario appeared to hit an inning-ending lineout to Cardinals first baseman Jose Martinez in the fifth, but the ball went off of Martinez's glove and ricocheted into foul territory, allowing Brian Dozier to advance to third and Rosario to go to second. Grossman followed with his two-run double to break open what was a one-run game.

Video: MIN@STL: Grossman lines a 2-run double in the 5th

"You think about a game like today, facing a guy like Martinez, you know you're going to have to grind, nothing's going to come easy," Molitor said. "We took advantage. They did have a couple of miscues that led to some runs, which made it a lot easier for Jake to do his job."

SOUND SMART
The Twins have won 14 of their past 17 Interleague games dating back to Aug. 2, 2017.

HE SAID IT
"They're working now. It's tough to get off. If too many people call off, it looks a little suspicious." -- Odorizzi, on if any of his high school friends were at the game

UP NEXT
Jose Berrios (3-3, 3.98 ERA) will get the start as the Twins begin a four-game series in Anaheim on Thursday at 9:07 p.m. CT. Berrios will be making his second career start against the Angels, whom he beat on June 4, 2017, allowing two runs over six innings in a 3-2 Twins victory.

Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Louis.

Minnesota Twins, Jake Odorizzi