Berrios shows glimpse of the future

Berrios shows glimpse of the future

CLEVELAND -- After a poor showing with the Twins last season -- going 3-7 with an 8.02 ERA in 14 starts -- right-hander Jose Berrios pitched well enough with Triple-A Rochester this season to earn a start against the Indians on Saturday.

"I have a second chance this year here," Berrios said after being recalled on Friday. "I have to go out there tomorrow and pitch my best and try to help the team win."

The 22-year-old took advantage of his opportunity, leading the Twins to a 4-1 victory on Saturday after going a career-high 7 2/3 innings and only allowing one run on two hits with four strikeouts.

"[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 Molitor 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 real trouble that Berrios found himself in came in the third inning. With two down, Carlos Santana drove the ball to deep center, where Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was unable to make the catch, resulting in a triple for the Indians first baseman. Berrios then walked Francisco Lindor and struck out Michael Brantley, but not before he threw a wild pitch to Lindor that allowed Santana to score.

Santana opens the scoring

"I tried to be perfect," Berrios said. "I threw a wild pitch. That happens in the game, but I competed after that to help the team win."

Overall, Berrios stymied the Indians hitters, recording five 1-2-3 innings. At one point, the right-hander retired 13 in a row from the third inning into the eighth. Berrios credited his success to the game plan that he and catcher Jason Castro followed.

"[Attacking their hitters] was the plan," Berrios said. "[We] attacked every hitter with the fastball in, and then I used my secondary pitches."

Berrios' streak of setting down 13 straight Indians came to an end when he hit Lonnie Chisenhall to start the eighth inning. After he set down Yan Gomes and Abraham Almonte, Molitor replaced the right-hander with reliever Taylor Rogers, who retired Santana on one pitch to officially close the book on Berrios.

"He's got good command in the strike zone," Indians designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion said of Berrios. "He's got a good two-seamer. It was working today. He pitched good."

The only other base unner that Berrios allowed on the day was a first-inning single to Brantley.

"[His performance] was awesome," Twins outfielder Max Kepler said. "I have seen him pitch throughout my whole career coming up in the Minors. It is good to see him have success at this level. He is one of the hardest working players I know. …He's got some of the best stuff I've seen."

After the game, Molitor said that Berrios's performance earned him the right to start on Thursday against the Rockies.

"The message [for Berrios] was simple: go out and have some fun," Molitor said. "Do what you can do in this game. I'm sure he knows that he's had to fight to get back up here. There was a little bit of a light being shined on him today. The response was very affirming in that he gave us the outing that he did."

William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland who covered the Twins on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.