MIAMI (AP) — Jake Odorizzi was far from superb against Miami, yet more than satisfied compared to his last outing.
Odorizzi followed his worst big league start by pitching one-run ball into the sixth inning as the Minnesota Twins beat the Marlins 2-1 Tuesday night.
“There is still plenty of room for improvement with my fastball command,” Odorizzi said. “But it is a step in the right direction. It was more like myself tonight than in some of my previous outings.”
Odorizzi (12-5) allowed a run and four hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out five and was lifted after giving up his only walk to Neil Walker with two out in the sixth. The outing comes less than a week after Odorizzi’s four-inning effort against the New York Yankees on July 24, when he gave up nine runs and 10 hits.
“I take it. I’m pleased with it, recognizing that there is plenty of work,” Odorizzi said. “It’s a long season. I have to work through stuff like everyone else.”
Byron Buxton gave the Twins a 1-0 lead with a homer in the third. Buxton drove the first pitch from Miami starter Zac Gallen over the wall in left-center for his 10th home run.
“With the pitcher coming up, 95 percent I wasn’t going to get a fastball,” Buxton said. “There are times like that you want to sit on pitches. I trusted myself and I saw the curveball and put a good swing on it.”
Buxton’s blast was the Twins’ 206th homer of the season, matching their 2017 total and the third-highest in club history.
Buxton nearly hit a second homer when Marlins centerfield Harold Ramirez retrieved his shot to the warning track in the seventh.
“I definitely thought I got it,” Buxton said.
Tyler Duffey relieved Odorizzi and struck out two in 1 1/3 innings. Sergio Romo, acquired from Miami on Saturday, pitched a scoreless eighth and Taylor Rogers retired the three batters he faced in the ninth for his 16th save.
“Our pitchers as a whole just had a very nice night,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “From (Odorizzi) to the three guys that came out of the bullpen, it was fun to watch.”
Gallen (1-3) went seven innings for the second straight outing. The rookie right-hander, who was called up from Triple-A New Orleans on June 20, allowed two runs and four hits, striking out eight and walking three.
“These last couple games have felt a lot better and I’ve been able to pitch off of that,” Gallen said “I trust myself and have more confidence.”
Minnesota increased its lead in the fourth when Miguel Sano doubled, scoring Eddie Rosario from first.
Curtis Granderson had an RBI double in the fourth for Miami, which was held hitless the rest of the way.
“We were just fighting to get a run in,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said. “We couldn’t do it tonight.”
Romo admitted he felt somewhat awkward facing opponents who were teammates until late last week. In fact, Romo briefly stopped by the Marlins’ clubhouse before the game and exchanged hugs and playful banter with his ex-teammates.
“Go figure, but at the end of the day I’m here to help this team,” Romo said in front of his Twins locker. “I’m just happy to start against my old club.”
SANO’S FONDNESS FOR MIAMI:
Sano returned to Marlins Park for the second time and fondly remembered his first appearance at the stadium. The Twins third baseman participated in the 2017 All-Star Game and Home Run Derby. He defeated Mike Moustakas and Gary Sanchez in his home run derby rounds before losing to Aaron Judge in the final.
“That was a great moment for me to be in the home run derby for the first time,” Sano said.
Twins: 1B C.J. Cron (thumb) will play rehab games with the Twins’ Class A Fort Myers affiliate on Wednesday and Thursday.
Marlins: 1B Garrett Cooper left in the third inning of because of left hamstring tightness.
Twins: RHP Jose Berrios (9-5, 2.94) starts the middle game of the series looking to continue a trend of limiting opponents to three earned runs or less in his last 11 outings.
Marlins: RHP Sandy Alcantara (4-9, 4.18), the team’s representative in the 2019 All-Star game, is winless since June 21.
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