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Miracle's Berrios fires one-hitter in twinbill

Twins prospect fans 13 batters in first career complete-game shutout
June 1, 2014

The final pitch 2012 first-rounder Jose Berrios threw for Fort Myers on Sunday summed up his total dominance and highlighted how off balance he kept Tampa's hitters.

The two-strike slider to designated hitter Matt Snyder had so much late bite to it that Snyder swung through the pitch and then got hit by it. It was that kind of game.

Minnesota's No. 5 prospect struck out a career-high 13 batters and took a no-hitter into the fifth inning while going the distance as the Class A Advanced Miracle one-hit the visiting Yankees, 3-0, in the first game of a doubleheader.

"That pitch he threw epitomized how he was going about putting hitters away," said Fort Myers pitching coach Gary Lucas. "His grip is really good and he's a medium- to three-quarter-arm slot guy with a really, really good arm speed. He's blessed with touch and feel for his off-speed pitches.

"He gets off-balance swings because his breaking ball looks like it's in the middle of the plate then it dies at the last second. It was a privilege to watch him pitch."

Added Miracle manager Doug Mientkiewicz: "He established the fastball early, and when hitters get into swing mode, they start sooner than they normally would. [The game-ending strikeout of Snyder] is where you want to throw it to a left-hander, down on the back leg. When a hitter is maybe frustrated with the umpire and you have a kid with nasty stuff, that's going to happen."

The 187-pound right-hander struck out the side in the fifth and seventh innings, two batters in the first, third and sixth frames and one in the second. He topped his previous career high of 10 strikeouts, achieved over seven innings against Daytona on May 19.

The lone hit surrendered by the 20-year-old came with one out in the fifth. Tampa designated hitter Matt Snyder laced a double off the left-field wall.

Only one other batter reached base against Berrios, who became the highest-drafted pitcher out of Puerto Rico when the Twins took him 32nd overall two years ago. Claudio Custodio got hit on the elbow by a pitch with one out in the sixth, but he was stranded on first base.

"He threw his fastball to both sides of the plate and he was down in the zone," said Lucas. "He overpowered a bunch of hitters. He was hitting the outside corner against right-handed batters and he was down on the corners against left-handed batters.

"I love to watch good pitching ... and this kid put on a show tonight. He hit legitimate spots. It's not like they were chasing everything. He made them chase in certain counts when he was ahead, but he got ahead by hitting legitimate zones. It was something to watch, no doubt about it. I enjoy being a small part of his development."

Berrios (5-2) reached 97 mph in the opening innings, and he was still pumping his heater in at 93 in the latter frames. What made his fastball even more effective was adding and subtracting from his slider, spinning it in to the mid-80s or throwing it more like a curveball at 77-78 mph.

"He has put together two or three starts in a row on the positive side, which is a good thing," said Mientkiewicz. "We're still trying to get him to work on his secondary pitches, but so far, so good. He has the ability to beat you with a fastball, but we're trying to get him to throw his changeup and trust his changeup so he can throw it when he's behind."

Ranked 77th overall among's Top 100 prospects, Berrios lowered his ERA to 2.24 and extended his team-best strikeout tally to 65 in the victory. He's allowed three runs, fanned 38 batters and issued six walks over 26 1/3 Florida State League innings in his past four starts.

"He had a pretty solid mix [of pitches]," said Lucas. "Sixty percent fastball and maybe 20 to 30 percent breaking ball and 10 to 20 percent changeups. I think there was a real good mix. That 60 percent fastball, somewhere in that range, is where we want him to be.

"He was repeating pitches, hitting his locations and attacking hitters -- everything you want to see. This young man is putting it all together. I know that he's a prospect and everybody is excited about him, but now he's backing that fanfare up."

Berrios' gem was the first one-hitter on the circuit this year. There have been two two-hitters this season, including teammate Jason Wheeler's gem against Bradenton on April 28 and Damien Magnifico's outing in a 1-0 win against Jupiter on May 19.

Tampa starter Rafael De Paula (1-3) allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out six batters over five innings.

The Miracle swept the doubleheader with an 8-4 win in the second game. First baseman Dalton Hicks drove in three runs.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB.