Berrios retires bro-in-law for 2nd straight ASG

Right-hander induces brother-in-law Baez to fly out to end scoreless third; Polanco hits RBI single

July 10th, 2019

Jose Berrios will own the All-Star Game bragging rights over brother-in-law Javier Baez and his extended family for another year.

Of course, a pitcher never exactly wants to give up a hit on one of baseball's biggest stages, but in allowing a leadoff double to Ketel Marte in the third inning during Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at Progressive Field, Berrios set himself up for an All-Star battle with Baez, the Cubs' shortstop, for the second straight year.

"Berrios looked at Marte and said, 'Thank you for getting a double,' so he could face Javy Baez," Twins infielder said. "He was happy to face him."

Baez, too, had a big grin on his face as he strode to the plate against Berrios, and he was seen engaging in some friendly jawing with fellow Puerto Rican Francisco Lindor, who had FaceTimed Baez before the game to talk some trash to his close friend.

"I told [Berrios] to take it easy with me because I already had one strikeout," Baez said. "It was all in fun, and Lindor was yelling at me, too, that he was going to strike me out. I told him, 'It's not going to be the last one or the first one.'"

In front of 28 members of the Berrios-Baez clan assembled in Cleveland for the All-Star festivities, Baez swung at a first-pitch curveball from Berrios and popped it into shallow left field, where the ball was squeezed by left fielder Michael Brantley for the final out of a scoreless frame from the Twins' 25-year-old budding ace.

Baez claimed after the game that he knew that the curveball was coming. Not that it helped, with the way Berrios' signature pitch was moving on Tuesday. He also flashed strong movement on both his changeup and two-seamer as he punched out both Ronald Acuna Jr. and Christian Yelich before retiring Baez to preserve the AL's 1-0 lead.

Berrios had also faced Baez in last season's Midsummer Classic in Washington D.C., when he got his brother-in-law to fly out to right field as part of a scoreless fifth inning.

"Tonight is a special night for us," Berrios said. "I knew it was a long day. I tried to make eye contact and we did it. We just smiled and enjoyed. ... We don’t say anything. Just look at each other and smile. We enjoy the moment right now. We'll talk after the game."

A second consecutive scoreless performance in the All-Star Game was undoubtedly nice for Berrios, an ambitious young pitcher who always jumps at the chance to pitch on the biggest stages and against the most talented competition. But even without his on-field success, Berrios would have enjoyed the week all the same, due to the time he was able to spend in Cleveland with his family.

Because Berrios' wife, Jannieliz, and Baez's wife, Irmarie, are sisters, they used the All-Star Game featuring both Baez and Berrios as an excuse to get the whole family together away from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, the shared hometown of both stars. Berrios had recounted before the game the story of how every member of his family had crammed into five different Ubers and had sprawled across six tables as they went out for dinner together on Monday night.

"The last 24-48 hours have been amazing for me," Berrios said before the game. "I'm really happy. My family is here. Wife, kids, mom and dad, brother, sister. It's been a great time so far. It’s awesome."

Polanco, who started at shortstop, made it a night to remember for both Twins in the game by going 1-for-2 with an RBI infield single in the fifth inning off Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler that extended the AL's lead to 2-0.

Polanco became the first Twins infielder to start an All-Star Game since Roy Smalley also started at shortstop in 1979.

After striking out against Clayton Kershaw in the second inning, Polanco hit a hard grounder off the glove of second baseman Max Muncy in the fifth to bring home Gary Sanchez with an insurance run. Polanco became the fifth Twins player to record an RBI in the All-Star Game since 2000, and the first since Miguel Sano hit an RBI single in the 2017 Midsummer Classic.

"It was awesome," Polanco said. "I feel really good about it. I faced a really good guy and I made contact with him. I got a base hit."

Jake Odorizzi, the Twins' third All-Star, was unable to pitch due to a blister, but he still made the most of the ability to mingle with other teams' position players in particular. He was busy enough trying to figure out what to do with all of his souvenirs from the experience, anyway.

"All the stuff they give you here, I feel like you have to fit in a truck or something to get back," Odorizzi said. "I guess I'll throw it on the plane after the game."