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Blue Jays beat Twins 3-0 on Berríos’ pitching, Kirk’s hitting, Varsho’s fielding

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — José Berríos pitched around a season-high five walks and into the sixth inning for Toronto to beat his old team, and the Blue Jays blanked the Minnesota Twins 3-0 on Sunday for their first series win in four tries.

Alejandro Kirk hit a two-run single in the second inning that held up for Berríos (5-4), who has allowed two or fewer runs in seven of his last nine turns after a rough start.

Daulton Varsho scored from first base on Kirk’s hit and was solid in the outfield, the day after he twice had a leaping catch attempt turn into a Twins home run when those balls bounced off his glove and into the grass berm. Filling in in center for Kevin Kiermaier, Varsho assisted on the third out of the fourth inning when he fielded a single and threw out Alex Kirilloff trying to go from first to third.

Then in the eighth, Varsho jumped above the center-field wall to take a homer away from Carlos Correa.

Jordan Romano recorded his 12th save with a scoreless ninth, allowing a two-out single to rookie Matt Wallner. He was 2 for 2 with two walks and has reached base in eight straight plate appearances.

The Blue Jays (28-26), who are in last place in the AL East, improved to just 10-17 in their last 27 games.

With Alek Manoah struggling at the top of the rotation, the Blue Jays need several more starts like this from Berríos, who was traded by the Twins at the deadline two years ago. The right-hander is 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA in his last five starts, four of them wins for Toronto.

Bailey Ober (3-2) finished six innings for Minnesota for the fourth time in five May starts, allowing five hits and no walks with eight strikeouts. The 6-foot-9 right-hander took a bad-luck loss, though, on the two-out bloop to shallow left-center by Kirk in the second.

The Twins (27-26) had their lead in the AL Central cut to one game over Detroit (25-26). They’ve led the division for 58 of 60 days this season.


Rookie Edouard Julien, a native of Quebec City, Canada, whose favorite boyhood team was the Blue Jays, has four homers in 16 games. He hasn’t been as sharp in the field or on the bases while filling in at second for Jorge Polanco, who became eligible to return from a strained left hamstring on Sunday.

Julien made a diving stop of Varsho’s two-out single in the second, but he dropped the ball before he could make the throw to first. The official scorer ruled the play a hit.

In the bottom of the inning, the Twins had the bases loaded with none out — for a few seconds. Julien rounded second base way too far, perhaps forgetting about the runner in front of him, and was thrown out by the catcher Kirk to shortstop Bo Bichette.


The Twins lineup is on verge of a potential boost from the return of Royce Lewis, the first overall pick in the 2017 draft whose major league debut last year was limited to 12 games by a torn ACL in his right knee. Lewis, whose shift from shortstop to third base was triggered by Correa’s arrival, is eligible to come off the 60-day injured list on Monday. That would be one calendar year from the date of his injury.

“We laid out, a realistic, responsible timeline, and he’s reached all the goals that were set,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.


Blue Jays: Kiermaier was on the bench after being removed from the game on Saturday with discomfort in his right lower back.

Twins: RHP Emilio Pagán relieved Ober and was pulled with a strained left hip flexor after one batter and seven pitches in the seventh.


Blue Jays: LHP Yusei Kikuchi (5-2, 4.56 ERA) starts on Tuesday night against Milwaukee after a return home and a day off. RHP Adrian Houser (1-0, 2.25 ERA) takes the mound for the Brewers.

Twins: RHP Sonny Gray (4-0, 1.82 ERA) pitches the opener of a three-game series at Houston on Monday afternoon. RHP J.P France (1-1, 3.43 ERA) starts for the Astros.


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Dave Campbell, The Associated Press