MINNEAPOLIS -- It's clear Jose Berrios has the stuff and makeup to be a frontline starter.
But he's also just 23 years old, and has trouble when he can't locate his fastball. That was the case in the series finale against the Reds on Sunday, as he turned in his worst outing of the season in an 8-2 loss on Sunday at Target Field. It dropped the Twins to 1-9 over their last 10 games, as they failed to carry any momentum from Saturday's win that snapped an eight-game losing streak.
"We talk about him being young a lot and he's gonna go through some of those starts where it's just not gonna be there," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "And today was one of those days where he had a tough time."
Berrios lasted just three innings, surrendering four runs on five hits and three walks to fall to 2-3 with a 3.63 ERA. He entered the game with three walks in 31 2/3 innings, but matched that total on Sunday with his lack of command.
"It was a little difficult to compete today," Berrios said through an interpreter. "I didn't feel like I had my command. Everything works off the fastball and I couldn't control it today."
Berrios allowed at least one run in each of his three innings, extending his streak to eight straight frames of allowing at least one run, dating back to his start against the Yankees on Tuesday. Prior to that, Berrios was on a run of 15 straight scoreless innings.
It was obvious Berrios was off in his opening frame, giving up a one-out single to Jose Peraza, before walking Joey Votto on four pitches. Eugenio Suarez made him pay with a two-out RBI double, but Berrios escaped further damage. Berrios issued another walk in the second and gave up a run on a two-out double from Jesse Winker. In his final inning, he loaded the bases with nobody out, allowing a pair of runs on RBI groundouts.
"It just seems like he was really struggling to get the ball where he wanted to," Molitor said. "I was trying to let him find it a little bit. But after three innings and getting off the field on a sharply hit ball there at the end of the third, I just didn't think it was gonna be there. So, we went ahead and made the change."
The Reds broke it open with a three-run fourth against lefty Taylor Rogers, who gave up three straight hits to start the inning. After being one of the club's more dependable relievers over the last two seasons with a combined 3.54 ERA, Rogers has an 8.44 ERA this year.
The Twins didn't score against right-hander Tyler Mahle until the sixth inning on an RBI single from Joe Mauer. Mahle went 6 1/3 innings, giving up four hits, to help the Reds to their first series victory of the year.
"I think we just didn't swing at our pitches," Twins right fielder Max Kepler said. "Didn't take advantage of our pitches and were swinging at his pitches. It's what makes a pitcher good."
The Reds got the run right back with a homer from Adam Duvall off reliever Tyler Duffey in the top of the seventh. Duffey threw three innings, but posted a 13.50 ERA in three appearances since getting called up Wednesday, and was optioned to Triple-A Rochester after the game.
"Minnesota has been having a hard time, but both clubs are better than what their records say," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "We're very proud to come in here against a tough ball club on the road and win a couple."
The three-inning start by Berrios was his shortest start since July 14 of last season, when he went 1 2/3 innings against the Astros. He also failed to strike out a batter for the third time in his 45 career starts.
HE SAID IT
"Obviously nobody likes losing. We won yesterday. We were able to get out of the eight-game losing streak. We lost again, and nobody likes to lose. The mentality for the team is in a good place. We're all sticking together and going to go back tomorrow again." -- Berrios
The Twins are hopeful third baseman Miguel Sano will return to the lineup when they begin a three-game series with the Blue Jays that starts on Monday at 7:10 p.m. at Target Field. Sano was held out of the lineup with a tight left hamstring on Saturday and Sunday, but the injury is considered minor. Right-hander Lance Lynn (0-2, 7.71 ERA) starts for the Twins, while the Blue Jays counter with Aaron Sanchez (1-2, 3.69 ERA).