Berríos, Burnes duel no-hit bids; Buxton HR lifts Twins over Brewers

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MILWAUKEE —  Jose Berrios didn’t argue when Twins manager Rocco Baldelli yanked him from a no-hitter, and for good reason.

He didn’t realize Milwaukee had no hits.

It was just about the only spot Berrios – or any pitcher – missed all night.

Berrios and three relievers combined on a one-hitter with 17 strikeouts as Minnesota beat Corbin Burnes and the Brewers 2-0 on Saturday in the season’s best pitchers’ duel so far.

Berrios (1-0) struck out 12 in six hitless innings but was pulled after Minnesota’s Byron Buxton broke a scoreless tie with a leadoff homer against Burnes (0-1) in the seventh inning – the first hit by either team. Only then did Berrios look at the scoreboard and realize he hadn’t given up any hits.

“I would have tried, but Rocco’s the manager,” Berrios said. “Whatever decision he’s going to make, I respect.”

The Twins wanted to make sure Berrios didn’t overexert himself in his first start of the season. He threw 84 pitches with 55 strikes.

“When guys are throwing no-hitters, it’s a double-edged sword,” Baldelli said. “It’s not a fun decision, probably one of the decisions I enjoy the least. But if your guys are throwing no-hitters at a certain point in the game, things are going pretty damn good, so you’re really happy about that.”

Minnesota’s bullpen nearly completed the no-hitter.

Taylor Rogers struck out the side in the seventh, and Tyler Duffey retired the first batter in the eighth before walking Lorenzo Cain and giving up a single to Omar Narvaez.

Duffey got out of the jam by striking out Daniel Vogelbach and getting Billy McKinney to hit an inning-ending fly to right. Alex Colome retired the side in order in the ninth for his first save.

Berrios and Co. had to be just about perfect to outduel Burnes, who struck out 11 and didn’t walk anyone.

Neither team had a hit or walk until Buxton’s homer, which came on Burnes’ 87th and final pitch. Burnes and Berrios each hit a batter in the fifth inning.

This was the first game in which both teams were hitless through six innings since an Aug. 2, 2014, duel between Jake Peavy of the San Francisco Giants and Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets. Both teams got hits in the seventh inning of that game, which the Mets won 4-2.

It also was the first game in MLB’s modern era in which each of the opposing starters recorded at least 10 strikeouts and allowed no more than one hit.

“It’s always awesome to go out and have a duel like that,” Burnes said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: 3B Josh Donaldson went on the 10-day injured list with what the team described as a strained right hamstring. Donaldson hurt himself running out a first-inning double Thursday and was removed from the game in the bottom half of the inning.

Donaldson played just 28 games last year due to a calf injury. Donaldson and Baldelli were optimistic this injury isn’t as serious.

Brewers: 2B Kolten Wong was back in the leadoff spot after getting hit in the right hand with a pitch in the ninth inning of Thursday’s opener.

UMP, TRAINER HURT

Home-plate umpire CB Bucknor was hit by a foul ball in the neck with two outs in the ninth inning. As Bucknor was getting treated, Brewers assistant trainer Dave Yeager appeared to collapse before getting up and walking to the dugout.

“Dave’s doing good,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He’s with our medical people now, but he’s doing good. He was down on one knee, helping CB out, and when he stood up he kind of lost his equilibrium and fainted. He walked off under his own power and he’s feeling better now. It was very scary, but I think he’s going to be OK.”

UP NEXT

The Brewers and Twins conclude their three-game series Sunday with a matchup of right-handers. Minnesota starts Michael Pineda (2-0, 3.38 ERA in 2020) while Milwaukee counters with Adrian Houser (1-6, 5.30).

Swanson, Olson go deep vs Scherzer, Braves take NL East lead

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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered off Max Scherzer, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a crucial 4-2 victory Saturday night over the New York Mets and a one-game lead in the NL East.

The defending World Series champions beat aces Jacob deGrom and Scherzer on consecutive nights to take their biggest lead of the season in the division. New York, which held a 10 1/2-game cushion on June 1, faces its biggest deficit of the year with four games remaining.

Atlanta will try for a three-game sweep Sunday night, with the winner earning the season-series tiebreaker between the teams. Even though both teams are headed to the postseason, that’s important because the NL East champion gets a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Swanson’s 24th homer, a go-ahead, two-run shot in the fifth inning, touched off a frenzy among the sold-out crowd at Truist Park, the ball sailing a few rows up into the seats in left-center to make it 3-2. Olson hit his 32nd homer in the sixth, a solo shot into Chop House seats in right to put Atlanta up 4-2.

Austin Riley led off the fourth with a double and scored on Olson’s single to make it 1-all.

Kyle Wright (21-5) gave up two runs and seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings as he won his eighth straight decision. The Braves have won 16 of his last 17 starts.

New York went up 2-1 in the fifth when Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil hit consecutive two-out singles.

The Mets led 1-0 in the first when Brandon Nimmo singled, advanced on a walk and a single and scored on Eduardo Escobar‘s groundout. Wright, who threw 30 pitches in the first, stranded two runners in scoring position to prevent further damage.

Scherzer (11-5) allowed a first-inning single to Riley and a third-inning infield single to Ronald Acuna Jr., who advanced to third on a fielding error by Lindor at shortstop but was stranded when Michael Harris II lined out to center. Scherzer patted his glove and pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.

Scherzer was charged with nine hits and four runs with no walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings as the Mets were knocked out of first place for only the third day all season.

The Braves have won five of the last six against New York to tie the season series 9-all, outscoring the Mets 37-16 over that stretch.

Atlanta’s bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA in September, got a perfect inning from Dylan Lee in the sixth. Jesse Chavez faced four batters in the seventh, Raisel Iglesias faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 39th save in 46 chances.

Since the Braves were a season low-tying four games under .500 at 23-27 after play on May 31, they have gone 76-32, tying the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the majors over that span. They were a season-worst 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Mets on June 1.

Wright, the only 20-game winner in baseball this season, hasn’t officially become the first Braves pitcher to lead the league in wins outright since Russ Ortiz had 21 in 2003, but the Dodgers’ Julio Urias has 17 and can’t reach 20 before the regular season ends.

Wright will become the first Braves pitcher since Hall of Famer Tom Glavine in 2000 to lead the majors in wins. Houston ace Justin Verlander also has 17.

Wright began the game 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts and one relief appearance against the Mets.

The Braves, who got homers from Riley, Olson and Swanson off deGrom on Friday, lead the NL with 240 homers.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. Manager Buck Showalter said Marte is experiencing less pain but not enough to take the next step in his recovery. Marte has been sidelined since Sept. 7.

Braves: RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique. Manager Brian Snitker said there is no timetable for the rookie’s return. Strider has been sidelined since Sept. 21.

NICE GLOVE

Harris ran back and jumped to catch Nimmo’s fly against the wall in center field for the first out of the third.

UP NEXT

Mets RHP Chris Bassitt (15-8, 3.27 ERA) will face RHP Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.29) as the teams conclude a three-game series.