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Kepler HR aids Berrios' gem in win vs. Tribe

May 13, 2017

CLEVELAND -- There has been a lot of hype around Twins right-handed starter Jose Berrios, and the 22-year-old showed why he was one of the club's most coveted prospects in his season debut on Saturday at Progressive Field. Berrios pitched a career-high 7 2/3 stellar innings and retired 13 batters

CLEVELAND -- There has been a lot of hype around Twins right-handed starter Jose Berrios, and the 22-year-old showed why he was one of the club's most coveted prospects in his season debut on Saturday at Progressive Field. Berrios pitched a career-high 7 2/3 stellar innings and retired 13 batters in a row between the third and the seventh to lead the Twins to a 4-1 win over the Indians. It was the fourth win in a row for the Twins.
Berrios was called up from Triple-A Rochester after the Twins defeated the Indians, 1-0, on Friday behind a strong outing from Ervin Santana. Berrios followed up Santana's start with a strong performance of his own, allowing only one run on two hits with four strikeouts to pick up the win.

"[It was impressive] for him to come up and just kind of blend right in and give us the outing he did," Twins manager Paul Moitor said. "He attacked. I thought he used his offspeed pitches efficiently, although he threw a lot of fastballs. He had a good fastball today. He limited the damage, and we were able to capitalize on the few opportunities we had to score enough runs to win."
The only run the right-hander allowed came in the third, when Indians first baseman Carlos Santana crossed home on a wild pitch. Relievers Taylor Rogers and Brandon Kintzler recorded the final four outs of the game, and Kintzler picked up his 10th save.

"We're certainly not doing what we want to do," said Indians manager Terry Francona, referring to his offense. "But, pretty consistently all day, [Berrios] got past our barrel. Not necessarily striking out, but just a lot of balls in the air, pop-ups. A couple balls we did hit good. We better not hit it to center field. That kid [center fielder Byron Buxton] is impressive."
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The Twins provided Berrios with plenty of run support, as they scored three in the fourth inning off Indians starter Mike Clevinger, capped off by an RBI single from Jorge Polanco. Max Kepler added a solo homer in the sixth off Indians reliever Dan Otero.

In his second start of the season, Clevinger lasted only 4 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on three hits with five strikeouts. The right-hander issued five walks and threw two wild pitches.
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Twins score three in fourth: After Clevinger walked Robbie Grossman and Miguel Sano to start the fourth inning, Joe Mauer laid down a bunt. Clevinger was the first to the ball, but he made a wild throw to first which allowed Grossman to score and Sano to advance to third. Kennys Vargas drove in Sano with an RBI ground out to give the Twins the lead, and Polanco drove in Mauer with an RBI single to left to make it 3-1.

"[Mauer] got it in a really good spot, and in some ways the biggest play of the game is a well-placed bunt," Molitor said. "That kind of changed the momentum and allowed us to get a couple runs. In Polanco's at-bat, dumping that changeup out there to left field was a big insurance run."
"It was a really good bunt," Clevinger said. "I knew I wasn't going to have too much time no matter who was running. I was trying to get rid of it fast, pulled it."

Kepler provides insurance: Otero replaced Clevinger in the fifth inning and sat down the first four batters he faced. But with two outs in the sixth, the right-hander left a 1-2 four-seam fastball middle-in to Kepler. The Twins right fielder drove it 351 feet down the right-field line and into the stands for his third homer of the season. Per Statcast™, the home run had an exit velocity of 98 mph combined with a launch angle of 21 degrees.
"He's always been a guy that can come back quickly and throw consecutive days. You're always a little more careful in today's game than 20 years ago or whatever. He went out this morning, did his routine, and said he felt fine for an inning. He made good pitches. I don't think he'll pitch tomorrow." -- Molitor, on Kintzler pitching in his third straight game
With Kepler's sixth-inning home run, the Twins have homered in 14 straight games for the first time since the club achieved the same feat in August 1988. During that stretch, the Twins have combined to hit 24 total homers, directly leading to 36 runs.
In addition, Kepler now has seven career home runs against the Indians, all of which have come since the beginning of last season. Six of those seven home runs have come at Progressive Field.
"Yeah, I guess it is a coincidence," Kepler said of his six home runs at Progressive Field. "A good one."
With two outs in the third inning, James Dozier sprinted for second on an 0-1 pitch to Grossman. Indians catcher Yan Gomes fired a quick throw from his knees for what looked like a clear caught-stealing. Dozier was initially ruled safe, but the Indians challenged and the call was overturned after a replay review lasting 51 seconds. Replays showed shortstop Francisco Lindor applying the tag on Dozier's arm before he reached the base. On the year, Gomes has cut down 50 percent (9-of-18) of would-be basestealers.

In the home half of the third, Santana drilled a pitch from Berrios to deep center, where Buxton made a leaping catch attempt. The ball struck his glove near the top of the wall, but fell back into play, giving Santana a triple. A crew-chief review was used to confirm that the hit was not a home run. One batter later, a wild pitch from Berrios allowed Santana to score.
Twins:Hector Santiago (4-1, 2.76 ERA) will take the mound for the Twins in the series finale with the Indians on Sunday at 12:10 p.m. CT. The left-hander is coming off his fourth win of the season, where he allowed two runs on three hits in 6 2/3 innings against the White Sox.
Indians: Right-hander Trevor Bauer (2-4, 7.36 ERA) is scheduled to take the ball for the Indians in the finale of this three-game set with the Twins. Bauer has allowed 10 earned runs in 11 innings at home this year. He held Minnesota to two runs in 6 1/3 innings on April 20.
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William Kosileski is a reporter for based in Cleveland who covered the Twins on Saturday.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.