ARLINGTON, TEXAS – Little is working for the Twins right now.
Righthander Kevin Correia wasn’t terrible, but he certainly wasn’t a stopper on Friday. Josh Willingham tried to make plays in the outfield with whatever range and skill he has.
They looked feeble against Nick Tepesch and Rangers relievers for eight innings. The Twins strung some hits together in the ninth, only to have their rally fall short because of a sacrifice fly the inning before.
They lost 5-4 to the Rangers after making things interesting against closer Joakim Soria in the ninth. But it’s still a loss, their fourth in a row and ninth consecutive on the road. They are back to being six games under 500. Back to being frustrated.
So Twins manager Ron Gardenhire tried to cheer his players up after the game, praising them for not rolling over.
“As I told the guys, keep playing like that and good things are going to happen when you get after the game like that,” Gardenhire said. “They don’t quit, they root for each other, we just have to find a way to put some wins on the board here. We’re going through a little spell here. We won four, now we lose four in a row. Gotta get away from streaks.”
Down 5-0 with three singles through eight innings, the Twins got an RBI single by Oswaldo Arcia, then Kendrys Morales scored from third when Luis Sardinas booted Eduardo Escobar’s grounder.
Sam Fuld popped out, but rookie Jorge Polanco, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the eighth, hit a two-strike breaking ball down the right field line and into the corner as two runs scored to make it 5-4. Polanco’s first major league hit was a triple.
“I think he was standing on third before Escobar scored,” Correia said of Polanco. “This guy can run. That’s kind of a tough at-bat. This guy is from A-ball and you have Soria who throws six different curveballs. There is no way he could know what is coming.”
The drive stalled there. Brian Dozier chased pitches and struck out. Kurt Suzuki grounded out to Sardinas to end the game, running his skid to 0-for-13.
Correia gave up a two-run home run to Adrian Beltre in the first, throwing a fastball belt high and over the middle of the plate when Suzuki was setting up low and away. “It is one of those things where right when I threw it I was second-guessing myself,” Correia said.
Texas added two runs in the fifth. Sardinas got an RBI double when Willingham gambled, dived and missed his sinking liner. Then Shin-Soo Choo doubled off the wall in left, Willingham just missing the ball.
“What’s not to like about that?” Gardenhire said. “He’s trying to make a play.”
Tepesch held the Twins to three hits over 7⅓ innings and is 3-0 with a 1.31 ERA in three starts against them.
The Twins nearly kept him stuck on two wins against them, but a sacrifice fly by Beltre off Matt Guerrier in the eighth ended up being the winning run.
“Gotta get some hits early,” Gardenhire said.