March 29, 2019

Twins’ Berrios makes history on opening day

Jose Berrios, who rejected a Twins’ contract extension offer during the offseason, upped the ante in a big way Thursday after he struck out 10 batters in seven-plus innings to beat the Cleveland Indians 2-0.

“Yeah, that was impressive,” Indians manager Terry Francona told MLB.com. “I wish I wasn’t sitting here saying that. But not only his velocity on his fastball, but he located, and he located it in enough, hard, then he’d throw a changeup off of that. He really kind of manhandled us today.”

MLB.com reports the 10 strikeouts were a new opening day record for the Twins. After Berrios stepped aside, reliever Taylor Rogers struck out three more batters to earn the opening day save. Both combined to two-hit the Tribe.

Meanwhile, Indians ace Corey Kluber allowed only four hits over seven innings, but the Twins managed to score two runs late in the game. Nelson Cruz, C.J. Cron and Byron Buxton had a hit apiece, but it was fellow newcomer, Marwin Gonzalez, who delivered the big hit and drove in two runs.

The Twins and Indians are off Friday, then play resumes over the weekend. Jake Odorizzi gets the ball Saturday, followed by Michael Pineda on Sunday. That should be a good game. It’s Pineda against another good Indians pitcher in Carlos Carrasco.

Extra innings…

-A sellout crowd of about 39,500 attended Thursday’s game at Target Field.

-Slow play? What slow play? Berrios and Rogers wasted no time on opening day, wrapping things up in two hours and 18 minutes.

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone and I love the Twins.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.