Once Jose Berrios escaped a jam in the first inning [url=http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/mike-white-jersey]Authentic Mike White Jersey[/url] , the rest of the day belonged to the ace right-hander.
Berrios struck out a career-best 12 in seven innings, helping the Minnesota Twins beat Bartolo Colon and the Texas Rangers 2-0 on Sunday.
Shin-Soo Choo jumped on Berrios’ first-pitch fastball for a leadoff double, but Berrios settled down before the Rangers could grab an early lead.
”Yeah, he surprised me,” Berrios said through an interpreter. ”I threw a fastball right down the pipe and he obviously connected as you guys know. That kind of gave me a heads up like, `Oh, OK, game on here.”’
Eddie Rosario had two hits for the Twins, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bobby Wilson and Robbie Grossman each singled in a run.
Berrios (8-5) surrendered just three hits while improving to 3-0 in June. Trevor Hildenberger pitched a perfect eighth and Fernando Rodney finished the three-hitter for his 17th save.
The Rangers had won seven in a row and missed out on a chance for a perfect six-game road trip. Colon (4-5) yielded two runs and seven hits in seven innings.
”I think I pitched a great game, but I have to give credit to Berrios because he also pitched a great game too,” Colon said through an interpreter.
Choo reached base safely for the 37th straight game with the leadoff double. He advanced to third on Adrian Beltre’s two-out single to left, but didn’t try for home with Rosario charging the ball. Berrios then struck out Rougned Odor to end the inning.
No other Texas runner reached second against Berrios. Only four batted balls left the infield, three coming in the first.
”Sometimes you got to tip your hat to a guy that throws the ball extremely well,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. ”We saw him last year, very similar stuff, electric fastball, very loose arm, hard to pick up the release point off of him mixed with a solid breaking ball and changeup [url=http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/leighton-vander-esch-jersey]Authentic Leighton Vander Esch Jersey[/url] , just kept us off balance.”
Berrios retired 14 of 16 batters at one point and struck out at least two batters in each of the first four innings. Berrios has allowed eight earned runs over his last 34 1/3 innings (2.10 ERA).
”Every time when I warm him up before the game, I have in my head that it’s going to be a special day,” said Wilson, who was behind the plate for the Twins. ”He’s just that electric of a pitcher and has that good of stuff. You just have a good feeling every time you see him on the mound. His pure stuff is elite in the game.”
NO MORE SHENANIGANS
There were no further incidents after an intriguing sequence during Texas’ 9-6 win on Saturday. Jurickson Profar stole second base in the fourth inning with a 9-2 lead. Profar was later hit on the leg by reliever Addison Reed with a pitch that appeared intentional.
The interaction drew a quip from Twins manager Paul Molitor when he was asked before Sunday’s game about the three hit-by-pitches for Profar.
”The first one, our pitcher got his cleat caught in the dirt, the second one was a borderline strike,” Molitor said. ”With the armor these guys wear, they don’t worry about getting out of the way. And the last time, we wanted to give him an opportunity to steal another base.”
Before the game, Minnesota optioned rookie starter Fernando Romero to Triple-A Rochester and recalled right-handed reliever Alan Busenitz. The Twins bullpen had to account for 7 1/3 innings in Saturday’s loss after Jake Odorizzi’s short start.
The Twins will need a fifth starter again on Saturday in Chicago. Romero (3-3, 4.38 ERA) won’t be eligible to return unless a player is put on the disabled list. Molitor said the likely starter on Saturday isn’t on the current 25-man roster.
After the game, Minnesota optioned outfielder Ryan LaMarre to Triple-A and will make a corresponding move before Tuesday’s game in Chicago.
Rangers: Joey Gallo was back in the lineup after leaving Saturday’s game with left hamstring tightness. Gallo said the injury has lingered for much of the season but he has played through it. He was at designated hitter on Sunday after playing first base on Saturday.
Twins: Byron Buxton (10-day disabled list, left great toe fracture) went 0 for 2 while playing designated hitter in his fifth rehab game for Triple-A Rochester, which was later suspended due to rain. Buxton is 3 for 16 on his rehab stint and there is no timetable on his return to Minnesota.
Rangers: LHP Cole Hamels (4-6, 3.41 ERA) starts on Monday as Texas returns home against the San Diego Padres. Hamels has a 2.89 ERA over his past seven starts and has pitched into the seventh inning in five of the appearances. San Diego counters with LHP Joey Lucchesi (3-3, 3.86 ERA).
Twins: After an off day, RHP Lance Lynn (5-5, 4.64 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series at the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday. Lynn owns a 1.73 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 36 1/3 over his last six starts. Chicago will start RHP Reynaldo Lopez (2-5 [url=http://www.denverbroncosteamonline.com/royce-freeman-jersey]Authentic Royce Freeman Jersey[/url] , 3.59 ERA).
One thing sticks out to Patriots running back Dion Lewis about his time with the Philadelphia Eagles.
”Not playing,” Lewis said Tuesday with a smirk.
Lewis is one of three Patriots starters who will be facing their former team in Sunday’s Super Bowl, along with receiver Danny Amendola and safety Patrick Chung.
All three players look back on their experiences in Philadelphia differently, but they have played their best football since being rejected by the Eagles early in their careers.
Lewis was drafted by Philadelphia in the fifth round in 2011 and played two seasons for them before he was traded to Cleveland. Amendola was among Philadelphia’s final cuts in training camp in 2009. Chung started his career in New England, spent a forgettable year with the Eagles in 2013, then returned to the Patriots in 2014.
Amendola has experienced people doubting his abilities since he entered the league as an undrafted free agent with Dallas in 2008. He signed with Philadelphia in 2009 after being cut by the Cowboys. But after eight months with the Eagles, he was released. He was signed up by the St. Louis Rams and stayed there for four seasons before signing a five-year contract with the Patriots in 2013.
This past Christmas he tweeted a picture of his framed No. 11 Eagles jersey, a gift from a friend.
”It’s in my pool room – hanging as daily motivation,” Amendola said. ”I’ve come a long way since getting the opportunity to play there. It obviously didn’t work out, so I guess I take it as a learning experience and just realize how far I’ve come.”
Chung thought he was heading for a fresh start when he signed a three-year contract with Philadelphia in 2013, but it didn’t work out under then first-year coach Chip Kelly. Chung was back in New England the next season. The decision paid off with a Super Bowl ring last season.
As for that 2013 season, Chung was coy about what he remembers about the experience.
”That’ll be between me and those people,” Chung said.
Lewis said despite his success in New England winning a ring last season and leading the team this season in rushing yards (896) and rushing touchdowns (six), he has learned to stay motivated.
”Never safe. You still gotta put the work in. You still gotta get an opportunity. That’s what most of the guys in the league need – just an opportunity to compete,” Lewis said.
He said he’s matured a lot since leaving Philly.
”People look at you and kind of characterize you,” Lewis said. ”They try to tell you what they think you can do without even really knowing you. That’s kind of what I went through. I just kind of keep battling and showing people what I can do.”
As much as Lewis, Amendola and Chung have enjoyed their time in New England, they aren’t naive to how the Patriots deal with aging players. This past offseason the Patriots parted with LeGarrette Blount [url=http://www.greenbaypackersteamonline.com/j_mon-moore-jersey]Authentic J'Mon Moore Jersey[/url] , who led the NFL with 18 regular-season rushing touchdowns in 2016. But he also had turned 30, long considered the age of decline for running backs.
Blount was vocal about his desire to stay in New England, but the Patriots signed Mike Gillislee. Blount took a one-year deal with the Eagles, where he has had a good season and been a leader.
Amendola restructured his contract to remain with New England this season. With Julian Edelman out for the season with a knee injury, Amendola has stepped up, leading the team with 196 yards receiving and two touchdowns in the playoffs.
At 32, he will also enter free agency this summer.
Lewis is in the second year of a two-year deal and becomes an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. Chung, who turns 31 this summer, is signed through 2018.
Chung said he’s always admired Belichick’s no-nonsense approach to football. When reports came out about Belichick possibly considering retirement, Chung joked that his future was linked to that of his coach.
”When he’s done, I’ll be done, too,” Chung said.
Lewis said he will have no regrets if this is in his final season in New England.
”Just being here and learning what it takes to be a champion,” Lewis said. ”I think that’s something I’ll always remember, regardless of what happens. I’ll just cherish my moments here.”
The Patriots gave him – and Amendola and Chung – what they’ve always wanted: an opportunity.
”Nobody’s really given me a chance, and these guys gave me a chance. So that definitely means a lot to me,” Lewis said. ”So I’ll always just remember what I’ve learned here. And hopefully I’ll still be here.”