After winning back-to-back series against Milwaukee and Detroit on a season-opening road trip, the Minnesota Twins face two opponents in their home opener on Thursday afternoon in Minneapolis — the Seattle Mariners and Mother Nature.
The forecast is an 80 percent chance of rain, although thoseodds begin to dwindle as the afternoon goes on. Both teams have a day off on Friday just in case there is a postponement.
The Twins certainly don’t want to risk a start with a long rain delay or two mixed in for right-hander Jose Berrios (1-0, 0.00), who didn’t yield a hit over six innings while matching his career-high with 12 strikeouts in his first start, a 2-0 victory at Milwaukee on Saturday.
Berrios and Corbin Burnes had dueling no-hitters through six innings. Byron Buxton homered with one out in the seventh to break up Burnes’ no-hit bid while Berrios, after throwing 84 pitches including 55 for strikes, turned things over to the bullpen. Omar Narvaez lined a single down the right-field line off reliever Tyler Duffer with one out in the eighth to spoil Minnesota’s chances for the first combined no-hitter in team history.
Berrios is 1-2 with a 4.02 ERA in five career starts against Seattle. The win came in 2017 at Target Field, 6-2, when he allowed two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out eight. His most recent encounters with the Mariners came in 2019 but didn’t pick up a decision in either of the two.
Minnesota, known for its Bomba Squad offense, which set a major league single-season record with 307 home runs in 2019, showed it can also play a little defense in winning Wednesday afternoon’s rubber game at Detroit, 3-2.
The key to the victory came in the sixth inning when starter Kenta Maeda allowed a single, a double, a walk and another single but didn’t yield a run because left fielder Jake Cave and shortstop Andrelton Simmons teamed up on a perfect relay on a double to the fence by Miguel Cabrera to throw out Willi Castro at the plate.
After Maeda walked Jeimer Candelario and Nomar Mazara lined a sharp single to right to load the bases, Jonathan Schoop hit a fly ball to Kyle Garlick at medium depth in right. Garlick then easily gunned down Cabrera at the plate to end the threat.
“It was really a relief to see those two big plays,” said Maeda (1-0) after allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk over six innings while striking out six. “If it wasn’t for those two plays, I don’t think our team win would have been there.”
Seattle will start left-hander Marco Gonzales (0-0, 7>40 ERA), who took a no-decision in the Mariners’ 8-7, 10-inning victory over San Francisco on Opening Day. Gonzales gave up five runs on eight hits and three walks in six innings and will be making his first career start at Target Field. He is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in his career against the Twins, dropping a 7-1 decision on May 17, 2019, when he allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits in five innings.
The sixth inning also was the turning point in Seattle’s 8-4 victory over the visiting Chicago White Sox on Wednesday afternoon. The Mariners sent 11 batters to the plate, parlaying five singles, two walks, an error and a three-run double by Kyle Seager into seven runs while erasing a 4-1 deficit.
“It looked like we were really kind of dead in the water,” said Seattle manager Scott Servais. “But you look up and get a rally going and the young guys kind of feed off each other.”
“Any time you’re starting a road trip, you always want to end on a good term. You want to have a happy flight,” added Seager.
The three-game series with the Twins kicks off a seven-game road trip for the Mariners, who will also play four games at Baltimore.
–Field Level Media