The visiting Minnesota Twins hope to keep the good times rolling Tuesday night as they play the Toronto Blue Jays, a team that is moving in the opposite direction.
The Twins, who dropped three of four to the Blue Jays at Minnesota from April 15-18, won the opener of a three-game series Monday night 8-0 as Martin Perez struck out a career-best nine.
The Twins have won eight of their past 11 games despite losing two of three last the weekend to the New York Yankees.
The Blue Jays have lost three in a row and six of their past seven games.
Right-hander Jose Berrios (5-1, 2.91 ERA) will start for the Twins on Tuesday against Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez (3-2, 3.09).
In recording their third shutout of the season, the Twins held the Blue Jays to three hits, two against Perez in his seven innings. The Blue Jays did not have a baserunner until a walk to Danny Jansen with two out in the third inning and their first hit was a leadoff single in the fourth by Freddy Galvis.
The early-inning struggles have been a common theme for the Blue Jays this season. They are trying to correct the slow starts.
“We have to make an adjustment, we’re working on it right now,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “We struggle the first couple of innings for whatever reason.”
Montoyo was ejected for the first time as a major league manager in the fifth inning Monday after Brandon Drury was called out on strikes.
Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the consensus No. 1 prospect in baseball, has struggled since making his much-hyped major league debut April 26.
The son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and grounded into a double play Monday. He is batting .152 (5-for-33) with one RBI in nine games, with one of his hits a botched infield grounder. His play at third base is also deteriorating. He made one error — his second — and misplayed an infield hit Monday.
“All we can tell him is to relax and play his game,” Montoyo said. “He’s going to be all right.”
The Twins might be without catcher Jason Castro, who hit a two-run homer and had three RBIs Monday, for the final two games of the series. Castro was hit by a pitch on the elbow in the eighth inning and was replaced behind the plate in the ninth by Mitch Garver. The club said he had a right elbow contusion.
“He is doing fine, it’s probably a day-to-day thing,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “A little swelling, we wanted to get him checked out early. It might be a couple of days before he’s back in.”
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