ARLINGTON, Texas — Jorge Polanco patiently looked at three pitches out of Emmanuel Clase’s hand — all around 99 miles per hour.
The fourth time, he swung. And connected.
Polanco sent a 99 mph pitch into the outfield, clearing the bases. That two-out eighth inning triple opened up a 6-3 lead for the Twins, who went on to win by that score as they swept the Texas Rangers on Sunday, Aug. 18, in their last-ever game at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
With the win, the Twins concluded their road trip 5-1.
“I was concentrating on putting the bat on the ball and getting a good pitch,” Polanco said. “I was thinking that the fastball was going to cut, so that’s what I got, and I was able to drive it.”
“He kind of left no doubt. It wasn’t a funny play or a funny hop or something going on,” manager Rocco Baldelli said of Polanco’s triple. “He just had a good at-bat, put a great swing on the ball, drove it into the gap and let everyone kind of do their thing marching around the bases.”
Polanco’s big hit came after the Twins (76-48) had watched their long-held lead disappear in the previous inning when Sam Dyson allowed a solo home run to Shin-Soo Choo. It was the first home run Dyson had surrendered as a member of the Twins and the first run he had given up since coming off the injured list with biceps tendinitis earlier in the week.
But thanks to Polanco, it didn’t doom the Twins.
It did mean, however, that Martin Perez wound up with a no-decision rather than a win. Perez had grown up in the Rangers’ organization. He spent his first seven years in the big leagues in Texas, and he had been looking forward to pitching on Sunday at a ballpark he knew so well, against friends who he considered family.
Perez, who had a chance to pitch against the Rangers (60-64) earlier this season at Target Field, put six scoreless innings up in July before getting chased out after giving up four runs in the seventh.
Sunday, he faced some problems with two outs, but he was able to limit the Rangers to two runs on five hits in five innings. He gave up a two-run single to Jeff Mathis in the fourth, which cut the Twins’ lead to 3-2.
“I just tried to stay on the attack. I know it was hot and I was just trying to attack early and get quick outs. Only in the fourth inning, I was not able to come out with a quick inning,” Perez said. “But at the same time, I was strong with my mind, and I just tried to throw a quality pitch and get a ground ball after that big base hit.”
Perez, a former Ranger, was facing off against Lance Lynn, a former Twin, who entered the day in the midst of a solid bounce-back season. The Twins — and the Rangers’ defense — made Lynn work, forcing him to throw 57 pitches through just two innings on a sweltering day in Texas. The Twins scored three runs off him — two on a Marwin Gonzalez double in the first and one on an Eddie Rosario sacrifice fly.
He, too, took a no-decision. The win marked the Twins’ first four-game sweep over the Rangers ever and the Twins’ ninth sweep this season.
Max Kepler left the game with what the Twins termd a "heat illness." It was 95 degrees at first pitch.