After splitting two lopsided games, the visiting Minnesota Twins and the Toronto Blue Jays will play the rubber match of their three-game series on Sunday afternoon.
The Blue Jays posted a 12-3 victory on Saturday as former Twins right-hander Jose Berrios recorded a career-best 13 strikeouts. Minnesota traded Berrios to Toronto on July 30.
Berrios allowed two runs in seven innings, lowering his earned-run average from 5.62 to 5.24. He had allowed six runs in 2 1/3 innings on May 29 in a no-decision against the Los Angeles Angels.
“I was encouraged because he was throwing 94-95 (mph),” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “What happened in Anaheim, he had a dead arm. Not making excuses for him, but he was 90-91, so it was a big difference.”
Alejandro Kirk and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit two-run homers for Toronto on Saturday. It was the fourth long ball of the season for Kirk and the 12th for Guerrero.
Kirk also had a single to go 2-or-4 for his 14th multi-hit game of the season,
“With Kirk it’s about his approach,” Montoyo said. “He has one of the best approaches in baseball, and that’s saying something because there are a lot of good hitters. He doesn’t strike out, he puts the ball in play and he has good at bats every time and it’s paying off.
“He’s a good hitter already, and he’s only going to get better.”
Minnesota won the opener 9-3 on Friday, but with the loss on Saturday fell to 2-5 on an eight-game road trip that ends on Sunday.
The Blue Jays have won 13 of their past 17 games after dropping seven of their previous nine. Their 16 hits and 12 runs were both season bests, and the nine-run margin of victory was their largest of the season.
Right-hander Kevin Gausman (5-3, 2.51 ERA) will start for Toronto on Sunday against Minnesota left-hander Devin Smeltzer (2-0, 1.50).
Gausman is 0-3 with a 7.30 ERA in seven career outings against the Twins but has not faced them since 2018 when he was with the Baltimore Orioles.
Smeltzer will be making his first appearance against the Blue Jays.
The Twins played without Gio Urshela (foot) and Kyle Garlick (hamstring) on Saturday. Both were injured during the Friday game. It had yet to be determined if Garlick would need a stint on the injured list.
“If we can also get through the next couple days without starting him, it might give us a little time to make a decision as far as what’s to come and what next week looks like,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Urshela is considered day-to-day. He could have been used off the bench if needed on Saturday. Baldelli said that Urshela is “going to be fine.”
Minnesota reinstated outfielder Gilberto Celestino from the COVID-19 injured list on Saturday. Right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez, who started the Friday game for the Twins and pitched three innings of three-run ball, was assigned to the taxi squad.
Celestino missed nine games. He was hitting .324 (24-for-74) with four doubles, four RBIs, seven walks, 10 runs, a .398 on-base percentage and a .776 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 31 games for the Twins this season when put on the IL. He singled as a pinch hitter on Saturday.
–Field Level Media