Perez pitches 7 scoreless innings, Twins beat Blue Jays 8-0
TORONTO (AP) — Make it two scoreless outings in two May starts for Martin Perez.
Perez and a pair of Minnesota relievers combined on a three-hitter, Eddie Rosario hit his AL-leading 12th home run and the Twins blanked the Toronto Blue Jays 8-0 on Monday night.
Perez (5-0) won his fourth straight start and has pitched at least six innings in all five starts he’s made since opening the season in the bullpen.
“I believe in what I have right now and I trust my stuff,” Perez said.
The left-hander allowed two hits, both singles, in seven innings, and struck out a career-high nine. Perez pitched eight shutout innings against Houston on May 1.
Perez is 4-0 with a 1.64 ERA as a starter.
“He’s really found his comfort zone out there, mixing different pitches pretty much at will,” Twins catcher Jason Castro said. “It was fun to catch.”
Perez walked two.
“He’s missed a good amount of bats this year,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He’s missed bats and he’s finding new ways to miss bats.”
Ryne Harper worked the eighth and Matt Magill pitched around Randal Grichuk’s two-out single in the ninth.
Rosario began the day in a four-way tie for the AL home run lead with Seattle’s Jay Bruce, Texas’ Joey Gallo and New York’s Gary Sanchez. Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich leads the majors with 15.
Castro homered and had three RBIs before leaving with a sore right elbow after he was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning. He is day to day.
“I wouldn’t expect this to linger very long,” Baldelli said.
Rosario also drove in three runs and Jorge Polanco had three hits, including a solo homer, as the Twins won for the eighth time in 11 games.
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo was ejected for the first time in his career in the fifth. Plate umpire Adam Hamari tossed Montoyo for arguing after Toronto’s Brandon Drury was called out on a low pitch.
“I thought there were some tough pitches on Drury, so I went up there and let Adam know what I thought,” Montoyo said. “I knew I was going to get thrown out.”
Rosario had an RBI groundout in the first and Castro hit a second-deck homer off Marcus Stroman (1-5) in the second. The Twins got two more in the third on Castro’s RBI groundout and Byron Buxton’s RBI double.
Rosario chased Stroman with a two-out solo drive in the fifth, and Polanco went deep off Daniel Hudson in the seventh.
Rosario drove in his third run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Toronto was shut out for the third time this season. The Blue Jays have lost six of seven.
Stroman allowed five earned runs in 4 2/3 innings. It’s the second straight start he’s failed to complete the fifth, and the second straight in which he’s given up five or more runs.
“He’s just not locating,” Montoyo said. “A lot of pitches were down the middle.”
Castro’s homer was the first allowed by Stroman this season, and the first he’d allowed since Aug. 17, 2018, when he gave up a two-run homer to Neil Walker of the Yankees.
Twins: RHP Addison Reed (left thumb) is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday. Reed has not pitched for the Twins this season.
The Twins are 9-2 in series openers.
Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went 0 for 3, dropping his average to .152. He struck out looking twice and grounded into a double play.
“We’ve just go to work with him and be patient,” Montoyo said. “He was the No. 1 prospect for a reason.”
Guerrero Jr. played catch with a young fan before his pregame stretching routine.
Stroman has received eight runs of support in 45 2-3 innings, the second fewest in the AL. Only teammate Trent Thornton has received fewer runs of support per nine innings.
Twins: RHP Jose Berrios (5-1, 2.91) will try to set a new career high by winning his fifth straight start.
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (3-2, 3.09) is 3-0 with a 4.32 ERA in four career starts against Minnesota.