CHICAGO -- Jose Berrios has been looking for answers to solve his late-season skid, and with the Twins trying the hold off the Indians in the American League Central, there’s been a clear sense of urgency.
Berrios looked like a frontline starter again as the Twins cruised to a 10-5 victory over the White Sox on Thursday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field. The series sweep keeps Minnesota 3 1/2 games ahead of Cleveland, which swept the Tigers.
“I thought Jose threw the ball well,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He got into some grooves where he was really commanding the ball the way he wanted to.”
Berríos has tinkered with some of his mechanics during his search to regain his All-Star form.
While those adjustments have allowed him to work through his issues, staying ahead of hitters and keeping himself in good pitchers' counts has helped him go deep into games.
“I feel really good. It’s not like I’m doing a drastic change with my mechanics,” Berríos said. “It’s just tweaking little things and just being consistent, so that’s what I did today.”
“He stayed composed, went out there and got through the outing. [He] did a good job and put us in a good spot to win,” Baldelli said. “I thought it was a good, solid outing.”
The offense -- even with four players who have combined for 100 homers this season getting the day off -- provided Berríos with plenty of cushion and extended its record-setting ways. Minnesota scored its first six runs in the game on eight singles in the first two innings off of White Sox starter Dylan Cease. The Twins have also hit 141 road home runs this season, setting a MLB record for home runs by a road team, breaking the previous record set by the 2001 San Francisco Giants.
Jake Cave and C.J. Cron launched back-to-back home runs in the third inning to extend the lead to 8-0. Cave would add another solo shot in the seventh inning to increase the Twins’ home run mark to 261 this season.
“We were missing some really good players out there, but if you look at our lineup, even with those guys down, I think we still had a great lineup out there,” Cave said. “It just goes to show how dangerous we are because even when we don't have everybody that's supposed to be in the starting nine, it's still a very dangerous lineup.”
Berríos allowed three runs on seven hits over six innings of work, striking out eight and walking two to pick up his first victory since July 31. The right-hander threw 63 of his 101 pitches for strikes, including 13 swinging strikes.
The Twins’ ace came into Thursday’s start 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA in four starts this month, but was able to end the month on a high note.
Minnesota will need Berríos to be the best version of himself in September as the team looks to clinch the division next month.
“Yeah, I think today’s start was a little bit stronger for me,” Berríos said. “But I have to continue to work like that if I want to help the team."