Jose Berrios tosses gem as Twins beat Nationals

The stuff has looked good, manager Rocco Baldelli has said of Jose Berrios repeatedly, though maybe the execution hasn’t been its crispest at times. He’s felt good, Berrios has said, but the results just haven’t been matching how he feels.

It’s been a frustrating stretch for Berrios since the calendar turned to August, but perhaps the Twins starter, who had been dominant earlier in the summer, has turned a corner.

Berrios sailed through seven shutout innings — his first scoreless outing since July 31 — and got some late run support in the Twins’ 5-0 win over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night in a series opener at Target Field.

Berrios worked four perfect innings before the Nationals (79-64) managed a hit off him. Howie Kendrick lined a single to right for the first hit of the game, one of just two that Berrios allowed. Mostly, he worked quickly and without trouble, striking out four and allowing one walk, which was quickly erased by a double play.

He was matched for much of the night by Anibal Sanchez, who didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning either. Sanchez gave up just four hits in his seven innings, though one of them was a two-run home run to Mitch Garver, which was enough to send him to a loss.

Minnesota Twins’ Mitch Garver rounds the bases on a two-run home run off Washington Nationals pitcher Anibal Sanchez, right, in the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Garver’s blast, which came in the seventh inning, was his 30th of the season, making him the third Twin this season to reach that milestone. It marked the first time since 1987 — a year Twins fans remember fondly — that the Twins (89-55) had three batters hit 30 or more home runs.

The homer was followed up by insurance runs in the eighth inning courtesy of Jorge Polanco and Ehire Adrianza as the Twins pulled away against the Nationals bullpen. Polanco hit a two-run double and Adrianza a sacrifice fly to allow the Twins to stay away from using closer Taylor Rogers.

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