TORONTO – A five-point first inning for his Blue Jays teammates was all it took for starter Jose Berrios to shut down his old club, the Minnesota Twins, on Sunday.
Toronto’s early home plate prowess resulted in a 5-3 victory over the visiting Twins as the Jays won two of three games in the weekend series.
Toronto Blue Jays now require proof of vaccination or negative COVID test to attend home games
Berrios allowed three runs on four hits, gave up one walk and struck out six hits in six and two-thirds of innings of work.
Toronto (84-65) continued to hold second place in the American League wildcard race going into the final two weeks of the regular season.
The Jays are 15-3 in September, which is the best in Major League Baseball, and 21-9 at home since returning to Rogers Center in late July.
The last time Toronto had 19 games over 0.500 was August 31, 2016.
The Blue Jays have 13 regular season games left in 2021, including this week’s road trip that took them to Tampa Bay for three games against the Rays starting Monday, followed by four at Minnesota.
Toronto sent home 10 batters in the first inning on Sunday against Twins starter Luke Farrell (1-1), the son of former Blue Jays manager John Farrell.
Second baseman Marcus Semien started the play-off by doubling the left-field line with an out to go on to score on Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s single.
Shortstop Bo Bichette then fired a two-point shot for his 26th homerun.
A single right from Teoscar Hernandez and an infield shot from Corey Dickerson put the runners in first and second. They scored on consecutive singles from Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Breyvic Valera.
Gurriel increased his RBI total to 27 in September.
Before arriving in Toronto via a trade with the Twins on July 30, Berrios, 27, spent the first five and a half years of his career in Minnesota.
He still wears the red Twins glove on his left hand on the mound.
Berrios (12-8), has won four of his last five starts, but struggled in the fourth round on Sunday.
With one out, he hit former Blue Jays star player Josh Donaldson in the right forearm.
Miguel Sano placed Donaldson in third place with a brace in the middle. Shortstop Nick Gordon scored his teammate with a brace on the left field line.
The Twins came close to a point with a homerun from Ben Rortvedt, their ninth batter in sequence, with two strikeouts in the seventh inning.
The 2-1 curve ball was Berrios’ 100th and final pitch for the afternoon.
Trevor Richards replaced him and threw well before giving way to stopper Jordan Romano for the final round. Romano got his 19th stop.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on September 19, 2021.
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