MINNEAPOLIS -- Jose Berrios turned in yet another strong outing with eight solid innings and was backed from a multihomer game from Chris Gimenez and a two-run homer from Eduardo Escobar to lift the Twins to a 6-2 win over the Mariners and earn a series split on Thursday at Target Field.
Berrios surrendered two runs on five hits and a walk with six strikeouts to improve to 6-1 with a 2.74 ERA. He gave up a run in the third on an RBI single from Ben Gamel with two outs before allowing another in the sixth on a one-out RBI single by Robinson Cano. Despite being at 94 pitches entering the eighth, he came out and recorded a 1-2-3 inning, finishing with a career-high 108 pitches.
"Jose went out there and really gave us a solid eight innings, which really helped our bullpen, especially going into four games in three days," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We were trying to figure out how far we could take him. Given our cushion, while it wasn't huge, allowed him to go back out there and finish eight."
Mariners left-hander Ariel Miranda, after a run of six straight solid outings, turned in a clunker, getting hurt by a five-run first. He went four frames, allowing six runs on 10 hits, including three homers.
"The thing with Ariel, is he has to pitch off his fastball," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "He needs to stick with it, I think today he got away from it. A lot of offspeed stuff early and he's got to keep throwing the fastball until you get a feel for it."
Escobar was the first to homer with his two-run shot in the first. Escobar, who went 3-for-4, has been hot recently, going 18-for-31 over his last eight games. Gimenez did the rest with the first multi-homer game of his career. He connected on a three-run blast in the first and a solo shot in the third.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Twins strike first: The Mariners scored two runs in the first inning in each of the first three games of the series, but this time it was the Twins who jumped out to an early lead. Gimenez's three-run homer was the backbreaker, coming with two outs and just clearing the fence in left field. Gimenez got just enough of it, as it had an exit velocity of 97.2 mph and went a projected 353 feet, per Statcast™. More >
"I kind of thought he might try to sneak a heater by me after [a changeup]," said Gimenez, who homered on a 2-2 fastball. "Being a catcher you have a tendency to think like that sometimes. I thought I'd see a heater and got one middle-away and got it just far enough to go over the fence."
Berrios escapes trouble: The Mariners cut it to a four-run lead with Cano's RBI single in the sixth, bringing up slugger Nelson Cruz to the plate with one out. But Berrios got Cruz to ground into an inning-ending double play with the help of a nice play by Escobar at third. In the seventh, Kyle Seager opened with a double, but was stranded there with Berrios getting out of the jam.
"[Berrios] pitched a really good ballgame," Servais said. "We had some chances to get close, couldn't ever really mount a big rally against them. Have to give them credit, we have been swinging the bats very well."
"He just asked if I was all right and when I said I was good, he said, 'Next time, you better catch it.' I knew it was coming. That's what made it funny. But I do it to him the same way. Give it and take it." -- Twins center fielder Byron Buxton, on what left fielder Eddie Rosario said after Buxton's hard collision with the center-field wall trying to rob Seager of a double to open the seventh
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners: The Mariners will conclude the road trip with a three-game set against the Rangers. Left-hander James Paxton (5-1, 2.25 ERA) is slated to start the series opener at 5:05 PT. He is 2-2 with a 3.53 ERA (17 earned runs in 43 1/3 frames) in eight starts against Texas.
Twins: Left-hander Nik Turley (0-0, 9.00) is set to make his second career Major League start on Friday against the Indians at 7:10 p.m. CT. Turley allowed four runs in four-plus innings in his debut against the Giants on Sunday.