MINNEAPOLIS -- Jose Berrios ended his 2018 season in impressive fashion, throwing seven strong innings against the White Sox and passing the 200-strikeout plateau for the first time in his three-year career.Berrios surrendered one run on three hits and four walks to help lift the Twins to a 2-1 win
MINNEAPOLIS -- Jose Berrios ended his 2018 season in impressive fashion, throwing seven strong innings against the White Sox and passing the 200-strikeout plateau for the first time in his three-year career.
Berrios surrendered one run on three hits and four walks to help lift the Twins to a 2-1 win over the White Sox on Friday afternoon in Game 1 of a split doubleheader at Target Field. Berrios struck out nine, finishing his campaign with 202 strikeouts in 192 1/3 innings. He's the eighth Minnesota pitcher to reach that milestone, and the first since Francisco Liriano in 2010.
"It means a lot, obviously," Berrios said through an interpreter. "That was one of my goals before the season started. That's when I wrote it down, and I accomplished it, and I'm thankful to God for that."
The lone run Berrios allowed came in the third, when he surrendered a two-out RBI single to Leury Garcia. Second baseman Gregorio Petit made a nice diving stop on the play, but he couldn't get Garcia at first, with Christopher Austin unable to corral the throw in the dirt. But it was an otherwise solid showing from Berrios, who went 12-11 with a 3.84 ERA in 32 starts while being named an All-Star for the first time this year.
"We all feel that [Berrios is] not done learning," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He's one of those kids that's going to embrace the year, in terms of reflection. Think about the things that worked, positivity about those things, but also how to avoid some of those stretches or some starts where things kind of got away from him."
Berrios, 24, said his goal next year is to reach 200 innings for the first time, and he will be looking for a better second half. This year, he had a 3.68 ERA in 20 starts before the All-Star break, but he posted a 4.15 ERA in 13 outings after it.
"Baseball is a sport of failure, and ups and downs are going to happen," Berrios said. "Thankfully, I stayed healthy the entire year and I had a great season. I think I competed, and the most important thing is that I was healthy."
The Twins did just enough offensively against White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez to support Berrios, with Joe Mauer sparking an early rally with a leadoff single in the first in what could be his final weekend with the Twins, as he could decide to retire after his 15th season. Robbie Grossman, who went 2-for-2 with two walks, stayed hot with a double to move Mauer to third before Austin plated a run with an RBI groundout on a check swing with the bases loaded.
"Fantastic day," Molitor said of Grossman. "The walks and a couple of nice at-bats. Putting him in there every day since we lost [Eddie Rosario], and he just continues to find ways to help us win games."
Minnesota took the lead in the sixth, keyed by three straight walks to open the inning to load the bases. Willians Astudillo brought home the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to shallow center field, and it proved to be the game-winner. Relievers Taylor Rogers and Trevor May combined for two scoreless innings, with May getting his second career save. Rogers extended his streak to a Major League-best 25 straight scoreless innings.
"I told [Rogers] today that he should buy some lottery tickets, because it wasn't his best day in terms of some hard contact, a couple of hard line drives and a ball off the facade in right which could have been a home run on a given day," Molitor said. "But he found a way to get four big outs for us. He's had a nice run, the numbers back that up."
Berrios joins Liriano, Johan Santana, Bert Blyleven, Dean Chance, Jim Kaat, Dave Boswell and Camilo Pascual as Twins pitchers who recorded at least 200 strikeouts in a season. His 202 strikeouts are the most by a Minnesota pitcher since Santana had 235 in 2007.
HE SAID IT
"Nice finish. He's had an overall good year. There's been some times where I think he's been frustrated. We saw a little bit of that -- more so in the second half than the first -- but he kept grinding, and I think he was motivated today. I know he wanted to win. But I know he had those 200 strikeouts in mind. It was kind of a nice way for him to be able to head home knowing he finished the season strongly." -- Molitor, on Berrios
Right-hander Chase De Jong (0-1, 3.86 ERA) will make his fourth and final start of the season in the second game of Friday's split doubleheader against the White Sox at 7:10 p.m. CT. De Jong allowed two runs over 4 1/3 innings against the A's in his most recent outing. Right-hander Lucas Giolito (10-12, 5.81) starts for Chicago.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.