Jose Berrios walked off the mound in the second inning down three runs and right into a conversation with Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson.
“Wes came up to me and looked in my eyes and said, ‘Hey, you’re the man, so believe in yourself,’ ” Berrios said. “ ‘You’re Jose Berrios, so you have to attack the hitters, believe in your pitches.’ And that’s what I did.”
What about believing in an offense that is making mincemeat of opponents, Jose?
“It’s awesome,” Berrios said after the Twins scored the final 10 runs of the game for an 11-4 victory over the White Sox on Friday night at Target Field. “That’s the way they have played so far. They have hit a lot. Everyone knows we are the leaders in homers in the league. It’s fun to watch when we see the offense hit like that.”
Of course Berrios does. A 4-1 deficit often means defeat and has a pitcher muttering to himself afterward about how his one bad inning ruined the night. But baseball’s best offense roared back against Chicago, giving the Twins their ninth victory in 10 games.
Knowing you have a team capable of a 10-run rally will make any pitcher relax and remember that he is the man.
“They hit a lot. They score a lot of runs,” said Berrios (7-2). “So that’s giving us a lot of confidence.”
On a pleasant Friday night, an announced crowd of 29,638 watched the MLB-best Twins improve to 34-16, matching their best record through 50 games; they also achieved the feat in 1970 and 2001.
The Twins have scored 10 runs six times this season, including four in the past eight games. They have scored 35 runs over their past three games.
Max Kepler was 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI. Eddie Rosario was 4-for-5 with a home run and three RBI. Miguel Sano homered too, his fifth in seven games since coming off the injured list.
Those were the Twins’ 99th, 100th and 101st home runs of the season, enabling them to join the 1999 Seattle Mariners — Ken Griffey Jr.’s gang — as the only teams in major league history to hit at least 100 homers in the first 50 games of a season.
When Jason Castro scored the final run of the game on a seventh-inning error, it gave the Twins 300 runs, the most the team has scored in a season’s first 50 games. The 1992 Twins scored 273.
The Twins scored twice in the second inning, twice in the third then three times in the fourth as they knocked Chicago starter Reynaldo Lopez from the game then went after the White Sox bullpen. It was the first of 19 games between the teams, as Chicago is just getting a taste of what the Twins — 9-3 against division opponents — could have in store for them this summer.
Rosario opened the scoring in with two-out, first-inning single, scoring Kepler. Chicago came back with four runs in the second, though only one run was earned because of shortstop Jorge Polanco’s throwing error.
The Twins scored twice in the second to get them within a run, then Rosario and Sano each homered in the third as the Twins took a 5-4 lead.
Kepler hit a two out blast to right in the fourth, as the Twins scored three runs with two outs to take a 8-4 lead. Kepler added a two-run single in the fifth, giving them a 10-4 lead. There went Chicago’s lead — and then some. Nine of the Twins’ 12 hits went for extra bases.
“I don’t think it really fazes us,” Kepler said of trailing early. “We know runs will be scored on this team. That’s a given. We kind of just stay in the present within each at bat and within each pitch and just try to make the most out of it. That’s all we can do.”
TWINS 11, WHITE SOX 4
1:10 p.m. Saturday (FSN)