MINNEAPOLIS -- While the Twins have traded six players since late July, the only veteran player they've acquired in return was John Forsythe in the trade that sent James Dozier to the Dodgers on July 31.
Forsythe, who struggled offensively with Los Angeles prior to the trade, has thrived in his new environment and came through big again with three RBIs, including a go-ahead two-run single in the sixth, to lift the Twins to a 6-4 win over the Pirates on Wednesday afternoon. It completed a two-game sweep over Pittsburgh, while Minnesota improved to 16-4 in its last 20 games at Target Field.
"I don't know if he's taken many bad at-bats," Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Forsythe. "I think he just has a calmness about situational hitting. He knows how to execute, he knows how to put the ball in play for a chance to get guys in from third, hits the ball up the middle really well."
Forsythe hit .207 in 70 games with the Dodgers, but is batting .386 with two doubles and six RBIs in 13 games with Minnesota despite essentially only being in the trade to help offset Dozier's salary, as they are both being paid $9 million in the last year of their contracts.
"It's about consistency and these guys throwing me out there every day and letting me play my game," Forsythe said. "It's luckily paying off, getting some hits and playing some good ball."
He helped the Twins to an early lead, singling home Miguel Sano in the second off Chris Archer in his third start with the Pirates to tie the game before scoring on a bloop RBI single from Bobby Wilson.
The Twins retook the lead with a three-run sixth with Archer giving up a single to Eddie Rosario, who advanced to second on an error by Gregory Polanco in right field. Jorge Polanco plated him with a single to knock Archer from the game. Forsythe later delivered the decisive blow with a two-run single with two outs off reliever Edgar Santana after a double from Max Kepler.
"They've been coming in there a little bit in the series, so I wanted to make sure I had enough room inside to clear, but also wanted to stay on that slider," Forsythe said. "Luckily, I got a pitch that crept a bit back over the plate, just got enough barrel on it to get through the middle."
Wilson provided an insurance run with a solo shot off reliever Keone Kela in the seventh to mark his first two-hit game since Sept. 9, 2016. Wilson and Kela were previously teammates with Texas.
"I knew I didn't want to get to his breaking ball. From catching him, I know his breaking ball is one of the elite ones in baseball," Wilson said. "So I knew I wasn't going to let a first-pitch fastball get by."
It helped bail out right-hander Jose Berrios, who continued his trouble in day games, as he lasted just 3 2/3 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on seven hits and two walks. It was his shortest start since April 29, and saw his ERA rise to 4.91 in day games compared to a 2.79 ERA in night games. Berrios is aware of the trend and has been trying to figure out why he's struggled with earlier start times.
"In reality, today I felt way better than I did last time out," Berrios said through an interpreter. "I've been preparing myself for this outing. Eating well, hydrating. There's something going on with me, and I'm not quite sure why this happens during day games."
The Pirates scored early on an RBI single from Colin Moran in the second to score Francisco Cervelli, who reached on Berrios' 11th hit by pitch of the year. But it fell apart for Berrios in a three-run fourth, and he couldn't escape the inning.
It started with a leadoff homer from Elias Diaz before Gregory Polanco ripped a two-run single with the bases loaded with right fielder Rosario getting charged with an error to allow the runners to advance. Oliver Drake came in relief of Berrios and got out of the jam to limit the damage.
"Jose just had one of those days," Molitor said. "He's getting a little off track maybe mechanically a little bit and losing a lot of pitches to the arm side, whether it's the slider or the fastball, and he's trying to fight through it the best he can."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Duffey escapes trouble: After the Twins took the lead in the sixth, the Pirates threatened in the seventh with back-to-back singles off Gabriel Moya to open the inning. Moya stayed in and got Josh Harrison to fly out to left before Pittsburgh brought in David Freese as a pinch-hitter for Moran. Right-hander Tyler Duffey came in and got Freese and Adeiny Hechavarria to fly out to preserve the lead.
Umpire Joe West was honored after the fifth inning after breaking a tie with Bruce Froemming for the second-most games umpired in MLB history at 5,164 games. The record is 5,375 games by Bill Klem. More >>
HE SAID IT
"Hildy is getting an opportunity here. The matchups have been good. The first outing he gave up a couple runs, but he bounced back and got it done in the last two, getting those two double-play balls to get us in and off the field. He's got to be feeling good about that." -- Molitor on Trevor Hildenberger, who picked up his third straight save since Fernando Rodney was traded to the A's, but still hasn't officially been annointed closer
The Twins begin a four-game series at Target Field against the Tigers that begins on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Right-hander Ervin Santana (0-1, 6.53 ERA) will be making his second straight start against Detroit, and struggled last time out, giving up five runs, including two homers, over six innings in a loss. Former Twins lefty Francisco Liriano (3-7, 4.42 ERA) starts for the Tigers.