Twins Lose in Extra Innings Despite Strong Starting Pitching
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Willie Calhoun's RBI single in the 10th inning gave the Texas Rangers the lead in a 4-3 victory Thursday over the reeling Minnesota Twins, who fell to 0-7 in extra innings this year.
Joey Gallo and Jonah Heim homered for the Rangers, who rode their bullpen to a third straight win to match the team's season-long streak. They raised their record to 3-0 in four-game series and 4-0 in extra innings.
Rangers relievers logged 12 2/3 scoreless innings over the last three games and have been credited with each of the team's last five victories.
Brett de Geus and Taylor Hearn (1-1) each pitched two scoreless innings in this one, and Josh Sborz earned his first save with a dominant 10th against a Twins team that has hit its fourth losing streak of three games or more this year.
Heim was the automatic runner at second in the 10th against Tyler Duffey (0-1), who let him advance with a wild pitch. Calhoun smacked a single to right field to score him.
Sborz struck out Willians Astudillo, who had an earlier two-run single among his three hits. Pinch-hitter Josh Donaldson fanned on three pitches. Then Gallo made a diving, snow-cone catch of a shallow fly to save the tying run and end the game.
Michael Pineda, pitching with an extra day of rest after stiffness and swelling arose in his wrist from being hit by a batted ball in his last start, finished six sharp innings for the Twins with five strikeouts and a 3-2 lead.
Heim, the backup catcher who came to the plate batting .105, took Hansel Robles deep with two outs in the seventh to tie the game in the type of late-inning bullpen lapse that has become far too familiar for the Twins this year. Byron Buxton just missed catching the ball with his jump at the center field wall.
Rangers starter Jordan Lyles, who was torched for 16 hits and 12 runs in 6 2/3 innings over his previous two turns, had his streak reach 12 straight starts with a homer allowed when Max Kepler greeted him with his 10th career leadoff shot.
That was the first home run of the season for the slump-ridden Kepler, who had 36 homers in 2019.
Twins 2B Nick Gordon had a walk and a single and became the first player in team history with two stolen bases in his major league debut.
With the news from Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz that capacity limits on outdoor gatherings will end on Friday, the Twins were excited about the prospect of more fans at Target Field. They've played in front of crowds of slightly under 10,000 people so far.
“If we find a way to do it comfortably and safely, I think the atmosphere will improve in a big, big way, and I think that it’s going to help us too on the field,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Rangers: RHP Kohei Arihara was scheduled for a bullpen session to test the sore middle finger on his pitching hand and on track to rejoin the rotation on Saturday barring any discomfort.
Twins: Buxton put on the brakes with a grimace while running out a grounder in the ninth, walking away gingerly with apparent discomfort in one of his leg muscles.
Rangers: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (1-3, 4.32 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series at Seattle on Friday night. RHP Chris Flexen (2-1, 3.33 ERA) takes the mound for the Mariners.
Twins: RHP Matt Shoemaker (1-3, 7.83 ERA) pitches on Friday night at Detroit, beginning a three-game series. LHP Tarik Skubal (0-4, 6.14 ERA) starts for the Tigers.