MINNEAPOLIS—Jose Berrios said it feels weird to be described as an all-star after being named to the American League team for the first time in his career.
His pitching last night showed the honour isn't misplaced.
Eduardo Escobar had three hits and drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh to support Berrios' strong outing as the Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 3-1.
Escobar plated Joe Mauer with a seventh-inning single as Minnesota took advantage of Kansas City's struggling bullpen to win its fifth-straight game.
Berrios (9-7) allowed one run on six hits in seven innings. He struck out eight while throwing a season-high 111 pitches.
“I feel great today out there," he remarked. ”My last two outings, I felt a little low on energy, a little tired.
“But today I felt better and the game plan worked for us.”
Fernando Rodney allowed a walk and hit in the ninth but secured his 20th save.
Tim Hill (1-3) surrendered both runs and got just one out in relief after starter Danny Duffy's six scoreless innings.
The Royals started the game with a league-worst 5.29 relief ERA.
“We score more runs, get a little more leeway, it would be easier on the bullpen,” reasoned Kansas City manager Ned Yost, who was ejected in the fourth inning.
“Right now, they're just walking that thin line," he noted. ”They can't make a mistake.
“But Danny was fantastic.”
Duffy and Berrios nearly matched each other through seven innings as both teams couldn't convert scoring chances.
The Royals were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded five runners against Berrios.
Minnesota, meanwhile, was 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left eight on base against Duffy, who has a 3.07 ERA over his past nine starts after a slow start to his season.
“I feel like I figured out quite a bit over the last couple starts,” Duffy noted.
The Twins had a runner reach third in three of Duffy's six innings but failed to drive him in.
Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar hit back-to-back doubles to lead off the third for the only run against Berrios.
“He's got the confidence he can make pitches to try to minimize at the very least,” Twins' manager Paul Molitor said of Berrios.
“He's got that feel about just pace of game, what he's doing, continue to execute, and it's just part of that progression we keep talking about with him.”
Yost was ejected after Lucas Duda was called out on strikes by home plate umpire Will Little.
It was his 43rd career ejection but the first of this season.
“I yelled at him just to get his act together, and he looked at me and shrugged his shoulders,” Yost recounted.
"Like, what does that mean? Does that mean you don't care? Is that what it means?
“That's what set me off," Yost added. ”Got my player working out there and then you're going to shrug your shoulders at me, and you're missing a call, a crucial call?
“Yeah, I didn't like it.”
Elsewhere in the AL, Boston blanked Texas 5-0, Oakland beat Houston 2-0, and Tampa Bay topped Detroit 10-9.
Baltimore split a double-header with New York, winning the first game 5-4 but losing the nightcap 10-2.
Over in the NL, Pittsburgh doubled Washington 6-3, Miami nipped Milwaukee 4-3 (10 innings), L.A. dumped San Diego 8-2, and San Francisco edged Chicago 2-1. (11 innings).
New York split a twinbill with Philadelphia, winning the first game 4-3 (10 innings) before fall 3-1 in the nightcap.
Cincinnati beat Cleveland 7-5 in interleague play.