MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Jake Odorizzi and the Minnesota Twins pitched their way out of a rough slide.
Odorizzi worked into the seventh inning, Mitch Garver homered and the Twins snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.
The 28-year-old Odorizzi (2-2), who was acquired in an offseason trade with Tampa Bay, gave up one run and five hits. He had dropped each of his last two starts, allowing nine runs in 9 2/3 innings.
“It’s a tough stretch, definitely. I’ve been in worse, but it’s still April,” Odorizzi said. “When you have these stretches in April, it’s a lot better than having them in August or September.”
Fernando Rodney worked around two walks while pitching a scoreless ninth for his third save in six chances.
Scott Schebler homered for the Reds, and Devin Mesoraco had two hits. Joey Votto went 0 for 3 with a walk, stopping his homer streak at four games.
Cincinnati right-hander Sal Romano (1-3) lasted 4 2/3 innings and was charged with three runs, two earned, and six hits. It was the fourth straight game in which a Reds starter failed to reach the sixth inning.
“He skated through the first two innings so clean,” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “And then the third and fourth they made him throw so many pitches. … He pitched out of trouble, but I just didn’t feel like making him pitch out of trouble a third time so we decided to make the change.”
The Reds got on the board when Schebler hit his third homer of the season with two out in the second inning. Schebler jumped on a first-pitch curveball from Odorizzi and drove it off the facing of the second deck in right field.
The Twins countered with two in the fourth. Eduardo Escobar hit a tying RBI double and advanced on an error on right fielder Jesse Winker. After Max Kepler flied out, Robbie Grossman delivered a sacrifice fly.
Garver’s second home run of the season leading off the fifth made it 3-1.
The Reds threatened in the seventh when Adam Duvall led off with a double that ended Odorizzi’s day. Mesoraco beat the shift with a single to right off Zach Duke that put runners on the corners with nobody out. But Billy Hamilton popped out, Winker struck out and Jose Peraza flied out to end the threat.
“That’s probably the turning point of the game,” Odorizzi said.
Rodney had blown his previous three save opportunities, including Gary Sanchez’s game-ending, three-run homer in the Twins’ 4-3 loss to the Yankees on Thursday.
But the 41-year-old closer has 303 career saves and he wasn’t about to let doubt creep in, even after walking two batters to put the tying run on base with one out.
“Yeah, I kept my confidence in myself,” Rodney said. “Tried to find the strike zone to try to convince these guys to swing and tried to get this guy out.”
Brian Dozier made a running, leaping grab of Tucker Barnhart’s soft liner into short center for the second out. Then Winker popped out to end it.
“Fernando can have some traffic at times,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “He’s actually throwing it over pretty well. That hasn’t been the issue. But he had a couple walks today. Thankfully, somehow he got those three outs and we can shake hands. It’s been a while.”
TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE?
After Schebler’s home run, Odorizzi shied away from using his curveball, and the strategy worked like a charm.
“It was by design - I hadn’t thrown one in the first 20 pitches of the game and then I throw one and it gets hit into the seats, so why play around with that?” he said. “I felt like I had a good fastball today and I was moving the ball around pretty good. So, no reason to be stubborn or prove that I can throw it again. Go with what’s working.”
Twins: An MRI confirmed OF Byron Buxton has a hairline fracture in his left big toe. Buxton fouled a ball off his foot in a minor-league rehab game in Florida last Sunday. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list due to migraines on April 18. Molitor said Buxton would stay in Minnesota and work out with the team, but he’s not likely to return to the lineup during the current homestand, which wraps up on Thursday. . Molitor said 3B Miguel Sano played with a tight hamstring on Friday, and Sano was not in the lineup on Saturday.
Reds: RHP Tyler Mahle (1-3, 5.00 ERA) faces the Twins Sunday afternoon in the series finale.
Twins: RHP Jose Berrios (2-2, 2.84 ERA) looks to continue his hot start against Cincinnati.
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