Rangers win 2-1 over Twins
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — It took awhile for the Minnesota Twins’ offense to get going on Thursday night.
Once it did, it didn’t take long for it to sputter and stop again.
Nick Tepesch pitched six strong innings for his second win, and Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz each drove in runs to lead the Texas Rangers to a 2-1 win over the Twins.
It was the Twins’ first one-run loss of the season and their fourth straight loss to Texas at Target Field.
Tepesch (2-1) allowed five hits in 6 2-3 innings. He shut the Twins out through six before Josh Willingham homered in the seventh inning to make it 2-1.
“The kid had a live fastball, a live arm,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “The ball was jumping on our hitters. He was cutting it and had a nice little breaking ball. Kid had nice pitches.”
The rookie right-hander had allowed only two baserunners up to that point and showed no lingering effects from taking a liner off his right forearm in his previous start against Seattle last weekend.
He left with two outs in the seventh after giving up singles to Chris Parmelee and Trevor Plouffe. Robbie Ross got pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit to groundout and end the threat.
With the bases loaded and one out in the eighth, Willingham had a shot to do some more damage. Instead his hard ground ball to Andrus at shortstop turned into a rally-ending double play.
“I hit the ball hard, just hit it right at him,” Willingham said with a shrug.
Doumit faced former Twins closer Joe Nathan with two outs and a runner on first in the ninth, but his long fly ball died on the warning track in left field and was caught by David Murphy to end the game.
“We still had a couple chances there at the end,” Gardenhire said. “The last two innings were good. We competed very well and we gave ourselves opportunities.”
Minnesota starter Vance Worley (0-3) allowed two runs and six hits in five innings.
The Rangers fouled off 29 pitches in the game and frustrated Worley by extending at-bats and driving up the right-hander’s pitch count early.
“It is tiring, but all you can do is battle,” Worley said. “You’re going to have a guy that goes up there and fouls off a bunch of pitches from time to time. It’s just a matter of when is this guy going to roll over, popup or just miss. That was kind of what they did. They battled.”
By the time Worley got in a groove, he was at 102 pitches and his night was over.
Like the Twins’ offense, it took Worley awhile to get going, and once he did, it wasn’t enough.
“We were one hit away,” Gardenhire said.
Notes: Worley hasn’t won a start since Aug. 1 of last season, when he played for Philadelphia. ... Twins C Joe Mauer went hitless for only the fourth time this season. ... The Twins have lost seven of their last nine to the Rangers. ... Willingham’s homer was his 24th at Target Field, tying him with Jim Thome for the most at the ballpark.