MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — José Berríos pitched six strong innings, Nelson Cruz had three hits and the Minnesota Twins beat the Pittsburgh 7-3 Tuesday in a game briefly delayed when an unauthorized drone flew over Target Field.
The Twins won their fifth in a row and improved to 9-2 for the second time in the team’s 60-year history. The other was 2001.
Pittsburgh lost its fifth straight game and at 2-9 has baseball’s worst winning percentage at .182.
The game was delayed for nine minutes in the fifth inning and players were pulled off the field when the drone flew over center field. A few pitchers in the bullpen threw balls at the flying intruder, but missed.
A bit wild early, Berríos settled down and allowed one run and four hits. He struck out six, walked three and threw 98 pitches.
It was the second straight strong start for Berríos (1-1), who allowed two earned runs and struck out six in five innings last Thursday against Cleveland. Considered the team’s No. 1 starter, the right-hander was roughed up for five runs and seven hits in four innings on opening day.
He got all the supported he needed right away.
Miguel Sanó doubled and Eddie Rosario dribbled a single through the shift — a swing where he reached out without moving his feet — as part of a three-run first inning off Joe Musgrove (0-3).
Cruz had a RBI single in the fourth. He has 17 hits, the most hits in MLB history through a season’s first 11 games by a player at least 40 years old.
Pittsburgh loaded the bases in the second, but Berríos struck out Jarrod Dyson and John Ryan Murphy. Bryan Reynolds tripled in the fourth before scoring on Gregory Polanco’s sacrifice fly.
John Ryan Murphy and Phillip Evans added ninth-inning RBIs. With two on, Trevor May got two outs for his first save.
Musgrove allowed five earned runs and six hits in 3 1-3 innings and walked five. In three starts, he has walked 11 in 14 2-3 innings.
Pirates: JT Brubaker will start Thursday against Minnesota in place of Mitch Keller (left oblique), who was placed on the 10-day IL Sunday.
Twins: 3B Josh Donaldson (calf tightness) missed his fourth straight game, but is “most likely” to play on a road trip that starts Wednesday, according to manger Rocco Baldelli. ... No corresponding move has been made after LHP Rich Hill (shoulder fatigue) was placed on the injured list Monday. Hill said he plans to throw a bullpen this weekend.
Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (0-2) will face the Twins on Wednesday to open a five-game homestand. Williams struck out six in 4 2-3 innings Friday at Wrigley Field, but walked three.
Twins: Begin a three-city, eight-game road trip Wednesday in Pittsburgh with RHP Randy Dobnak (1-1) taking the hill. The Pittsburgh-area native allowed three hits in five shutout innings Friday against Cleveland, but needed 94 pitches to do so.