Saturday, June 28, 2014
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Rangers hang on against Twins

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[June 28, 2014]  ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers and right-handed pitcher Nick Tepesch both needed a win on Friday night and both got one -- barely.

Tepesch matched a career high by pitching 7 1/3 innings of shutout baseball and Adrian Beltre had three RBIs for Texas, which took a five-run lead into the ninth but had to hold on for dear life in snapping an eight-game skid with a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

The 27th out proved difficult for Texas right-handed closer Joakim Soria in a non-save situation, but he held the victory for Tepesch (3-3), who allowed two hits while striking out five and walking two in winning for the first time in four starts.

"I was able to command all four of my pitches in the zone where I needed it," said Tepesch, who won for the first time in five starts while improving to 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA in three career starts against Minnesota.

"I like to think I'm always continuing to get better, continuing to build start to start."

Beltre, who was 1-for-3 as the designated hitter, belted his team-leading ninth home run of the season -- a two-run shot -- in the first inning for Texas (36-43), which won for the first time since June 16 and has now taken four of five from the Twins this season.

Beltre accounted for Texas' fifth run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

Left fielder Shin-Soo Choo, hitting leadoff after being moved out of the No. 3 spot following 15 consecutive games there, went 3-for-4, including a run-scoring double in the Rangers' two-run fifth.

Right-handed pitcher Kevin Correia (4-9) suffered the loss for Minnesota (36-42), which dropped its fourth consecutive game. Correia gave up four runs, six hits and two walks in six innings.

In the last four games, Minnesota starters have compiled an 11.65 ERA.

"Kevin didn't pitch badly," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He just had a couple of two-run innings.

"We've got to get some hits early in the game."

Three of Minnesota's six hits came during a furious ninth-inning rally against Soria, who was making only his second appearance since June 14 after entering with a 5-0 lead.

He yielded four runs, two hits and a walk. One run was unearned.

Jorge Polanco's first major-league hit was a three-run double in the ninth for the Twins, who also got a run-scoring single from right fielder Oswaldo Arcia in the inning.

Soria struck out second baseman Brian Dozier and induced a game-ending groundout to third from catcher Kurt Suzuki.

"We had our chance," Gardenhire said. "We had some great at-bats. Up to that point, we really didn't do much. Tepesch shut us down pretty good."

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Tepesch was 0-3 with a no-decision in his last four starts with a 5.93 ERA.

His only trouble came when he loaded the bases in the fourth with two outs. But he got out of the jam with a strikeout looking by third baseman Eduardo Escobar.

Tepesch retired 10 of the last 12 hitters he faced before being pulled after giving up a one-out single to Dozier in the eighth.

Right-handed pitcher Jason Frasor and left-hander Neal Cotts registered the last two outs of the eight.

Beltre's two-run homer in the Rangers' half of the first gave Tepesch a two-run cushion and Texas its first lead in five games.

The Rangers increased its lead in the fifth. Third baseman Luis Sardinas' run-scoring double down the left-field line, which just got under the glove of a diving Josh Willingham near the foul line, scored catcher Chris Gimenez with their third run. Two hitters later, Choo followed with a double off the wall in left to score Sardinas.

Tepesch retired nine of the first 10 hitters he faced before the Twins threatened in the fourth. Minnesota loaded the bases with two outs on a hit, a hit-by-pitch and a walk. Tepesch worked out of the jam by striking out Escobar to end the inning.

"We got some runs there early," Tepesch said, "and I tried to get us back to the dugout as soon as possible."

NOTES: The Twins placed INF-OF Danny Santana on the 15-day disabled list with a deep bone bruise and recalled right-handed pitcher Yohan Pino from Triple-A Rochester. Pino, who was sent down on Thursday, will start for Minnesota on Monday. ... 1B Brad Snyder, who was designated for assignment by Texas on Tuesday, cleared waivers and elected to become a free agent rather than accept assignment to Round Rock, the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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