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Blue Jays pull Berríos early in Game 2: 'Tough to take him out'

Sarah Stier / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Toronto Blue Jays right-hander José Berríos was removed despite pitching three dominant innings in a must-win Game 2 of their wild-card series against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.

Berríos, who allowed three hits with five strikeouts and one walk on 47 pitches, was replaced by Yusei Kikuchi. The left-hander allowed two runs - with one charged to Berríos - on two hits, including an RBI single to Carlos Correa, which ended up being the difference in a 2-0 win for the Twins.

"We had a few different plans in place," Blue Jays manager John Schneider said when asked if that was the spot in the game the team wanted to transition from Berríos to Kikuchi, according to Sportsnet. "José was aware of it. He had electric stuff. It was tough to take him out.

"I think with the way they (the Twins) are constructed you want to utilize your whole roster. It didn't work out. ... You can sit here and second-guess me, second-guess the organization, second-guess anybody. I get that. It's tough. It didn't work out for us today or yesterday."

Schneider also lamented the decision since Berríos' stuff was outstanding.

"It's tough. José arguably (had) the best stuff he's had all year," the 43-year-old skipper said, according to ASAP Sports. "And coming in to (play) his former team and a place that he's familiar with, it was tough to watch it unfold a little bit."

Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. said postgame that "everybody was surprised" when Berríos was pulled, according to Scott Mitchell of TSN.

Meanwhile, Whit Merrifield wasn't impressed with the move.

"I hated it, frankly," Merrifield said, per Sports Illustrated's Mitch Bannon. "It's not what cost us the game, but it's the kind of baseball decisions that are taking away from managers and baseball, at this stage of the game."

Former Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero was mystified by the decision, like many on social media:

Berríos pitched with the Twins from 2016-21. He was a two-time All-Star during that time.

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