MLB

Minnesota Twins take no-hitter into eighth, clip Milwaukee Brewers in electric pitching duel

MILWAUKEE — In a night dominated by pitchers, the Minnesota Twins got the better of the Milwaukee Brewers, holding them without a hit until the eighth inning in the 2-0 win on Saturday night.

Twins pitchers struck out the Brewers 17 times, but both starters will brilliant. 

Brewers right-hander Corbin Burnes and Twins righty José Berríos barely allowed hitters to put a bat on the ball. Each had no-hitters after six innings when Burnes became the first to blink. According to Stats by STATS, Berrios and Burnes became the first pair of opposing starters to have 10+ strikeouts and one or fewer hits allowed in the same game in the modern era.

With one down in the top of the seventh, Twins centerfielder Byron Buxton got hold of a 96-mph cutter, down and away, likely right where Burnes wanted it and drove it out to right-center for a home run. It was Buxton’s second homer in the first two games of the series.

With Burnes’ pitch count at 87, manager Craig Counsell removed him to a standing ovation from the crowd of 11,383. He did not walk a batter but did hit one while recording 11 strikeouts.

Minnesota's Byron Buxton hits a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers during the seventh inning. (Photo: Getty Images)

The Twins pushed across an insurance run in the eighth with three consecutive two-out singles off left-hander Brent Suter, the last by Luis Arraez up the middle to make it 2-0.

Berríos never came out for the seventh. With his pitch count at 84 pitches, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli went to his bullpen to finish the game.

There was a scary situation on two fronts in the bottom of the ninth as Christian Yelich was batting with two outs. A pitch from Twins closer Alex Colome caromed off the leg of catcher Ryan Jeffers and struck home plate umpire CB Bucknor in the throat.

While Bucknor was being attended to by the Brewers athletic training staff, assistant athletic trainer Dave Yeager collapsed and had to be treated as the Twins left the field. Yeager eventually walked off under his own power. 

Scary situation that happened at the Brewers/Twins game the Brewers head trainer Dave Yeager collapsed while tending to CB Bucknor. Thankfully, he looks to be ok now. pic.twitter.com/AiMmW9fdeH

It didn’t get better for the Brewers after Berrios’ departure. Lefty Taylor Rogers came on in the seventh and struck out all three batters he faced. Right-hander Tyler Duffey took over in the eighth and struck out the first hitter he faced before the Brewers finally showed a bit of life on offense.

After Lorenzo Cain drew a walk, Omar Narváez laced a single into right field to assure the Brewers would not get no-hit. Cain raced to third on the hit but Duffey stopped it there by retiring a pair of pinch-hitters, catching Daniel Vogelbach looking at strike three and getting Billy McKinney on a fly to right.

The game began with a haze and stench inside the ballpark, the result of a nearby fire at a recycling plant. But the pitchers also were throwing smoke past the hitters, giving them little chance of even making contact.

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Jose Berrios, shown during a spring training game, was masterful against the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday night. (Photo: Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports)

Beginning with the first batter in the second inning, Max Kepler, Burnes struck out six consecutive hitters, three looking and three swinging, using a devastating mix of pitches including a fastball that reached 98 mph. In putting down the first nine hitters in order, Burnes logged seven strikeouts.

Berríos wasn’t throwing quite that hard but was just as effective as he, too, put down the first nine in order. Berríos matched Burnes by striking out the side in order in the second, giving him four in a row at that point.

And it didn’t stop there.

Burnes’ opening string of batters retired stretched to 14 before he clipped Jake Cave on the back foot with a 1-1 slider with two down in the fifth. Burnes responded to that tiny hiccup by striking out Ryan Jeffers on three pitchers, finishing him with a 96 mph cutter.

Berrios’ opening stretch of batters retired also ended on a HBP as he plunked Keston Hiura on the upper left arm to open the bottom of the fifth. He also shook it off quickly, putting down the next three hitters with two more strikeouts, running his total to 10.

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