Thursday, December 1 2022

TORONTO (AP) — José Berríos hit a career-high 13 in seven innings against his former team and the Toronto Blue Jays backed him up with three homers, hammering the Minnesota Twins 12-3 on Saturday.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Alejandro Kirk and Bo Bichette homered as the Blue Jays won for the ninth time in 10 games. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. added three hits as Toronto set season highs in runs and hits (16).

Jorge Polanco homered for the Twins, who have lost eight of 12 games since a six-game winning streak.

Berríos (4-2) allowed two runs and three hits, tying Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw and Milwaukee left-hander Eric Lauer for the second most strikeouts in a game this season. Miami’s Sandy Alcantara struck out 14 against Atlanta on May 28.

“I just tried to be the José Berríos that I am, and I did it,” Berríos said. “I just tried to focus, to be fresh, to focus step by step, and I did it.”

Five of Berríos’ first six strikeouts were strikeouts, and he finished his outing by fanning the last two batters he faced.

“His slider was huge,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “It was like a Frisbee today.”

After making no decisions in his last two starts, Berríos won for the first time since May 17 against Seattle.

“His breaking ball was a real weapon,” said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. “It was a tough day for us because of that.”

Polanco, who lodged with Berríos in minor league Minnesota, said it felt good to connect with his old friend, even though he was empty in his next two at-bats.

“He was commanding his throws,” Polanco said. “He was giving us good pitches and he did well.”

Berríos spent six seasons with the Twins before being traded to the Blue Jays last July. The two-time All-Star faced his former team twice last September, going 1-1.

The Twins struck first against Berríos. Luis Arráez started the game with a single and Polanco homered with one out, his sixth.

“From that moment on, not much happened,” Baldelli said.

Bichette hit his eighth homer off Dylan Bundy (3-3) in the bottom half and Toronto took the lead with a second three-run. Cavan Biggio hit an RBI double, George Springer threw a run with a dribbler to the third base line and Biggio scored on a field error by shortstop Jermaine Palacios.

Teoscar Hernández tripled to start the third and Kirk followed with his fourth homer.

Guerrero hit a two-run homer, his 12th, against Ian Hamilton in fourth.

Bundy was scored for five earned runs and eight hits in 2 1-3 innings, the shortest of his nine starts this season.

“It’s hard to swallow because I felt really good,” Bundy said. “Probably some of the best things I had, just the order wasn’t there today.”

Bundy allowed one earned run in his first three outings in 2022, but has since allowed 25 earned runs in six starts.

THE DOZEN OF BERRÍOS

Berríos whipped up 12 batters twice with the Twins, on June 24, 2018, against Texas and again on April 3, 2021, at Milwaukee, when he went six hitless innings in the first start of the season.

WILD THING

RHP twins Yennier Cano threw back-to-back wild pitches in the sixth.

ONE TO FORGET

The Twins set the season’s worst in strokes and runs allowed, and lost by their biggest margin of the year so far.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: OF Gilberto Celestino was activated out of COVID-IL and RHP Chi Chi González was returned to Triple-A St. Paul.

Blue Jays: LHP Tim Mayza (forearm) will make an appearance in rehab with Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday. … Springer stayed in the game and hit a sacrificial fly after fouling his left foot in the seventh. Bradley Zimmer took over defensively in the eighth.

NEXT

LHP twins Devin Smeltzer (2-0, 1.50) start Sunday against Blue Jays RHP Kevin Gausman (5-3, 2.51). Gausman is 0-3 with a 7.30 ERA in seven career games against the Twins, but hasn’t faced Minnesota since 2018.

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