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Berrios K's career-high 12 to win pitching duel

Righty uses tips learned from Colon as teammates to top veteran
MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jose Berrios' and Bartolo Colon's tenures in Minnesota didn't overlap for very long, but it was enough time for the pair to forge a lasting friendship and for the youngster to pick up a few tips from the veteran.

On Sunday afternoon, the pair went toe-to-toe, and Berrios racked up a career-high 12 strikeouts as he and the Twins topped the Rangers, 2-0, at Target Field.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Jose Berrios' and Bartolo Colon's tenures in Minnesota didn't overlap for very long, but it was enough time for the pair to forge a lasting friendship and for the youngster to pick up a few tips from the veteran.

On Sunday afternoon, the pair went toe-to-toe, and Berrios racked up a career-high 12 strikeouts as he and the Twins topped the Rangers, 2-0, at Target Field.

View Full Game Coverage

"Every time when I warm [Berrios] up before the game, I have in my head that it's going to be a special day," Minnesota catcher Bobby Wilson said. "He's just that electric of a pitcher and has that good of stuff. You just have a good feeling every time you see him on the mound."

Berrios generated 18 swinging strikes and allowed just five Texas hitters to reach base in seven innings. It marked the fourth time this season that Berrios has tallied 10 or more strikeouts in a game.

The 24-year-old right-hander has quickly established himself as the Twins' ace this season. Berrios trimmed his ERA to 3.15 on the year and his 12 punchouts were the most by a Minnesota pitcher since Francisco Liriano struck out 15 batters on July 13, 2012.

"[Berrios] was pretty good," Texas outfielder Delino DeShields said. "He's got good stuff and commanded it well for the most part. He was getting ahead of hitters, and when you do that, the off-speed stuff gets better. He did a good job of attacking us all afternoon."

Berrios threw 70 strikes on 107 pitches and forced nine swinging strikes on his curveball alone. Rougned Odor singled to lead off the seventh with Berrios' pitch count rising. But Berrios bounced back to strike out Joey Gallo with a curveball in the dirt, and then rolled Isiah Kiner-Falefa into a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Video: TEX@MIN: Berrios finishes outing by starting DP

Matching Berrios pitch-for-pitch all afternoon was Colon. Berrios was just 2 years old when Colon made his Major League debut in 1997, and Berrios acknowledged how the former American League Cy Young Award winner helped him when the two played together.

"Just his confidence," Berrios sad. "He's very calm and he goes out there and executes his pitches. He doesn't throw hard, but he throws strikes. So, just learning that from him."

Colon struck out five and walked just one, but the Twins stung him for runs in the fifth and sixth innings to back Berrios. Robbie Grossman doubled to lead off the fifth and later scored on a single from Wilson.

Video: TEX@MIN: Wilson scores Grossman with RBI single

"Bartolo got me the first time and then the last one, you know, he started throwing me some sliders," Wilson, who caught Colon when the pair played together in the Angels' organization. "I was like, 'I didn't even realize you had a slider.' So it's always fun competing against him."

An inning later, Grossman plated Eddie Rosario with an RBI single to tack on an insurance run.

Video: TEX@MIN: Grossman collects an RBI single in the 6th

Trevor Hildenberger tossed a scoreless eighth inning, and Fernando Rodney struck out Jurickson Profar, Nomar Mazara and Beltre in order in the ninth to lock down his 17th save of the year.

Video: TEX@MIN: Rodney strikes out the side for 17th save

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Berrios gets rolling:
 Berrios allowed a leadoff double to Shin-Soo Choo on the first pitch, but he came through with a critical strikeout of Odor to escape danger and turn his day around. Berrios got Odor swinging with a curveball in the dirt to leave Shin-Soo Choo and Adrian Beltre stranded in the corners after a one-out single from the third baseman. Berrios was nearly untouchable after and racked up five consecutive strikeouts in the second and third innings.

Video: TEX@MIN: Berrios strikes out Odor to strand 2 runners

HE SAID IT
"I mean it's a little different, but [similar to] when [Ervin Santana] was young. Kind of that electric stuff. He can use his breaking ball at any time and you know he's gonna be able to throw his fastball by people. With Jose, he's also got the change, too, which Ervin didn't really develop until a little later on. But Ervin still had the wipeout slider and the heater that he'd get up in the mid-to-upper 90's. That's kind of what I see in Jose. It's a special kind of talent, that's for sure." -- Wilson, on who Berrios reminds him of

LaMarre optioned
After Sunday's game, the Twins announced that they optioned outfielder Ryan LaMarre to Triple-A Rochester.

LaMarre, 29, hit .263 with five doubles, eight RBIs and eight walks this season with the big league club. Minnesota will announce a corresponding move before Tuesday's game vs. the White Sox in Chicago.

UP NEXT
The Twins will get a rest day on Monday before taking off on a nine-game road trip that begins Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. CT against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Lance Lynn will get the nod for Minnesota and try to continue his recent hot streak. Lynn owns a 1.90 ERA and 23 strikeouts in the month of June. The White Sox will counter with right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (2-5, 3.59 ERA).

Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.

Minnesota Twins, Jose Berrios