ARLINGTON -- Jose Berrios has hit a rut recently and it continued against the Rangers on Saturday, as he was hurt by the long ball yet again, serving up three home runs.Berrios lasted four innings, surrendering five runs on three hits -- all homers -- in a 7-4 loss at
ARLINGTON -- Jose Berrios has hit a rut recently and it continued against the Rangers on Saturday, as he was hurt by the long ball yet again, serving up three home runs.
Berrios lasted four innings, surrendering five runs on three hits -- all homers -- in a 7-4 loss at Globe Life Park. The right-hander has posted a 6.65 ERA over his last five starts, not lasting more than five innings in any of those outings. It's caused him to fall to 11-10 with a 3.92 ERA in 28 starts, and he leads the team with 24 homers allowed.
"Realistically, he's fighting it a little bit," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I don't know if it's a combination of it getting late or a couple of other things, but it just hasn't been going very well."
Berrios had trouble in a four-run second inning, surrendering a leadoff homer to Nomar Mazara on a 2-0 fastball before issuing two walks with one out. The walks came back to haunt him with Ronald Guzman jumping all over a first-pitch fastball for a three-run blast.
"The base on balls as of late, they've really come back to bite us, no matter who is responsible," Molitor said. "We just keep walking them and scoring. The home run by Mazara and the big three-run home run there."
Berrios allowed another leadoff homer in the fourth, this time to Adrian Beltre on a 1-1 curveball. Berrios got through the rest of the inning, including getting a pair of strikeouts to reach six on the night, but was removed after 88 pitches.
"I felt good," Berrios said through a translator. "Relaxed. No pain out there. Just three pitches that cost me the game."
Offensively, the Twins didn't do much against veteran right-hander Yovani Gallardo, who allowed three runs in five innings. Joe Mauer singled in the first and later scored on a wild pitch, while Jake Cave crushed a solo homer in the second and doubled in the fifth, scoring on an RBI single from Christopher Austin. It was Cave's second homer in as many nights.
"He's shown the power the last couple nights," Molitor said. "He drove it. The whole recognition thing gets brought up a lot but he's getting better and swinging at strikes."
Minnesota didn't score again until the eighth on an RBI single from John Forsythe to score Mauer, who led off with a double. But the Rangers had added two insurance runs by then, including a solo shot from Rougned Odor off Oliver Drake.
VASQUEZ MAKES MLB DEBUT
Lefty Andrew Vasquez, who had his contract purchased from Triple-A Rochester before the game, made his debut in the fifth and didn't help himself by making two errors. He dropped a routine throw from Mauer while covering first and also threw away a pickoff attempt at first that allowed a run to score. Vasquez became only the third reliever in Twins history to commit two errors in one game, joining Bobby Wells (June 21, 2000) and Johnny Klippstein (May 16, 1965).
"I was trying to get him to smile a little bit when I took him out," Molitor said. "It's going to be memorable. Probably have a chance to get a couple laughs. It's not too often a pitcher makes two errors in an inning, much less your first inning in the big leagues."
Mauer's single in the first was the 1,500th of his career. It ranks as the third-most singles in Twins history, behind only Kirby Puckett (1,626) and Rod Carew (1,616).
HE SAID IT
"I obviously want to finish like I started. As a competitor, nobody wants to finish a season the way my last few games have been. I'll just keep looking forward and get ready for the next game." -- Berrios
The Twins will utilize the "opener" strategy for the first time this season Sunday against the Rangers at 2:05 p.m. CT. Left-handed reliever Gabriel Moya will start the game against the left-handed heavy Rangers and will be followed by right-hander Zack Littell, who will be recalled from Triple-A Rochester to be the primary pitcher. The Rangers will start lefty Yohander Mendez.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.