MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — On a night when former ace Johan Santana took his rightful place in the Twins Hall of Fame during a lengthy pregame ceremony, current ace Jose Berrios kept the party going with outstanding performance on the mound, perhaps campaigning for his placement in the exclusive club at some point down the road.
"He thinks about those things," manager Paul Molitor said before the game. "He has high aspirations for what he can do."
More performances like the one he poured in on Saturday night at Target Field, and the 24-year-old star will be well on his way to taking his place alongside some of the other Twins legends.
While he was far from perfect on this particular night, Berrios was rather dominant in seven innings of solid work, as the Twins earned an 8-2 win over the Kansas City Royals.
"He told me after the game that he wanted a complete game tonight," Molitor said. "He wants one every time he's out there."
Berrios said he drew a lot of confidence from watching Santana pregame, something that was clear as he seemed to find an extra gear as the game wore on.
"I was happy to see that our there, the Twins honoring a great player," Berrios said. "It was inspiring and I went out there and did my thing."
As good as Berrios was, striking out six batters in total, he certainly got a lot of help from his offense, namely home runs from Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler, and Logan Morrison.
That run support was needed after Berrios dug himself a hole early in the game, walking a trio of runners in the third inning before allowing a two-run single to Royals left fielder Alex Gordon.
Luckily for Berrios, he got himself out of the jam relatively unscathed, and his teammates picked him up after that.
"They scored two runs (in the third inning) and they came out swinging (in the fourth inning) as well," Berrios said. "Those were the two tough innings for me. I regrouped and my teammates kept me there and we got the win."
Molitor was especially impressed with how Berrios showed enough mental toughness to bounce back after momentarily letting things go off the rails.
"He gets in the dugout and resets," Molitor said. "He got it done, and thankfully, the bats came alive."
Besides the game from Berrios, Kepler was a secondary star for the Twins, finishing 3 for 3 with a pair of runs batted in, while Morrison finished 2 for 4 with pair of runs batted in.
Addison Reed and the newly acquired Oliver Drake took over out of the bullpen, holding up their end of the bargain as the Twins coasted to their second straight win.
Now the Twins will shift their focus to completing the series sweep of the Royals on Sunday afternoon at Target Field.
"We are trying to take those three back from the last road trip," Berrios said, referencing how the Twins were swept by the Royals last month. "They beat us over there. We want to win tomorrow and do the same thing to them."