BY: Richard W. Humphrey
ARLINGTON, Texas – Brooms were needed in Arlington Sunday, but it was the Minnesota Twins that did the sweeping. They won all four games of this weekend’s series with the Texas Rangers in the battle of the two teams that used to be known at the Washington Senators. It was the first time the Twins (the first Washington Senators) had swept the Rangers (the second Washington Senators) in a four game series.
Game one of the series was almost over before it began. Ranger starting pitcher Pedro Payano was rocked hard – so hard that he was optioned to AAA Nashville after the game. The Twins didn’t score in the first inning, but proceeded to score in each of the next five innings, starting with five runs in the second. After the Twins hit in the fifth inning, they had built the lead to 11-0.
The Rangers did battle back to score three runs in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth inning to cut the lead to 12-5. It could easily have been more. Aggressive base running cost them three outs on the bases. Manager Chris Woodward wants his team to be aggressive running the bases. Aggressive is one thing; stupid is another. There’s no reason to make an out on the bases, much less three when they were so far behind.
The final score was 13-6 handing the loss to Payano (1-2) with the loss. He pitched into the fourth inning, giving up five earned runs on five hits and three walks. Four relievers followed, and Shawn Kelley is the only one that did not allow a run.
Twins’ starter Michael Pineda went to 8-5 with the win. He completed five innings and Devin Smeltzer pitched the final four innings to qualify for a save (his first) despite the lopsided score. Pineda and Smeltzer each gave up three runs.
Mike Minor has been the Rangers’ hottest pitcher of late. He came into the second game of the series having thrown 16 consecutive scoreless innings and three straight wins. Both of those streaks ended Friday night. He gave up a two run home run to Max Kepler in the fourth inning to end the scoreless innings streak. After the Rangers took a 3-2 lead, Minor gave up another two run dinger to Jonathan Schoop in the seventh inning. That made the score 4-3, which was the final.
Nomar Mazara doubled home two runs, and the third Ranger run scored on a wild pitch.
Minor is 11-7 with the loss, though his ERA is still less than 3.00 at 2.94. Reliever Tyler Duffey was the winning pitcher. Sergio Romo earned the save, his 20th.
On Saturday, the Twins struck for six first inning runs and added two more in the second inning. The Rangers though scored two in the first and four more in the second to put the Twins in range at 8-6. Danny Santana was the Rangers’ big stick as he hit two run home runs in the first and second innings.
Ariel Jurado was the Rangers’ starting pitcher. He lasted two innings giving up eight runs, but six of the runs were unearned. He took the loss to go to 6-9, and his hold on a rotation spot is tenuous. Four relievers finished the game. Three of them allowed more runs. The final score was 12-7 with Duffey getting his second win of the series to go to 4-1.
Sunday’s game was very winnable for Texas, but it didn’t happen because of poor defense. Texas committed two errors and a very catchable ball in left field did not get caught driving in two runs with two outs in the first inning.
Lance Lynn was the starting pitcher, and the miscues caused him to throw an extra 25 pitches. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled through five innings allowing three runs on four hits and five walks. His 112 pitch count forced him out of the game.
After getting behind 3-0, Jeff Mathis drove in two runs in the fourth inning, making this his first game this year to drive in more than one run. Shin-Soo Choo homered in the seventh inning to tie the game at three. However in the eighth inning, Jorge Polanco tripled with the bases loaded to put the Twins ahead 6-3, which was the final score.
Ranger reliever Emmanuel Clase was charged with the three eighth inning runs to take the loss. He’s 0-2. Former Ranger closer Sam Dyson was the Twins’ winning pitcher. He’s 5-1. Taylor Rogers closed it out for his 19th save.
Texas has now lost 10 of their last 12 games to fall four games under .500. They have dropped behind the Angels into fourth place in the division, trailing the first place Astros by 18.5 games.
The Angels come to town for four games over the next three days. The game that was not played in July when Angels’ pitcher Tyler Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room will be made up as part of a day/night doubleheader on Tuesday. The Rangers’ announced starting pitchers are Kolby Allard (1-0) on Monday and rookies Brock Burke making his Major League debut in game one and Joe Palumbo (0-1) in game two on Tuesday. Mike Minor (11-7) is Wednesday’s scheduled starter. The day game of Tuesday’s double header is scheduled to start at 1:05 PM. The Monday and Tuesday night games are slated to begin at 7:05 PM, and Wednesday’s game is scheduled to begin at 6:05 PM. (All game times are Central Daylight Time.)
* Joey Gallo has begun taking swings at balls off a tee. He wants to return before the end of the season, but admits he is still at least 3-4 weeks away from being able to play in a game.
* The Rangers offense fizzled this weekend largely because they couldn’t get key hits. For the series, the Rangers went 7-35 with runners in scoring position.