Luis Sardinas' RBI single in the top of the seventh inning scored
Leonys Martin from second base, breaking a scoreless tie and leading
the Rangers to a 1-0 victory.
Saunders, activated from the disabled list before the game after
missing nearly two months with a fractured left ankle, labored
through five shutout innings to keep the Rangers in the game. He
threw 97 pitches, allowing five hits and two walks while striking
"It was an all-around battle tonight," Saunders said. "You have to
give credit to the hitters, they battled me and I was trying to
Saunders battled himself in the early going, getting into trouble in
each of the first two innings. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier
doubled to lead off the game, and he moved to third on a groundout.
However, Saunders recovered to strike out the next two batters and
escape the jam.
In the second, the Twins loaded the bases, but Saunders got Dozier
to fly out to the warning track to keep Minnesota off the board.
Back-to-back two out singles in the third gave the Twins another
threat, but a flyout to center ended the inning.
After that, Saunders settled in and retired six of the final seven
batters he faced, including striking out the side in the fourth
"For the first time coming back in almost two months, it was a
struggle," Saunders said. "But I made some good pitches and got some
clutch strikeouts against some pretty good hitters to keep the team
right where we needed to be."
He was matched by Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson, who went six
scoreless innings and allowed six hits while striking out four.
Gibson threw 65 of his 107 pitches for strikes.
"I feel like I helped them out a bit tonight," Gibson said of the
Rangers. "But give them credit; they make you make a lot of good
Saunders said, "Gibson is going out there putting up zeros, and you
have to try and match him. Keep the game where it was at. I felt
like whoever scored first was probably going to win."
Saunders' instinct was correct, although it was an inning too late
for him to earn the victory.
With Twins right-handed reliever Jared Burton (1-2) on the mound,
the Rangers played just enough small ball to scratch across a run.
Martin got on with a bunt single. He stole second base, then came
around on Sardinas' two-out hit that sliced just out of the reach of
Twins left fielder Josh Willingham.
Shawn Tolleson (1-1) pitched one shutout inning of relief to earn
Rangers closer Joakim Soria atoned for his first blown save of the
season Tuesday by setting down the Twins in order in the ninth
inning Wednesday for his ninth save.
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"There wasn't any doubt that if the opportunity presented itself
that he was going to be out there," Rangers manager Ron Washington
Minnesota's offense is struggling mightily of late, having scored
more than two runs only once in the past seven games. Over that
stretch, the Twins (24-26) are 2-5, dropping from two games above
.500 to two games below the break-even point.
"We had chances early in the game to get a run in," Twins manager
Ron Gardenhire said. "They made enough pitches. It was just one of
those cat and mouse things after that. You need a big hit, they got
one, they flipped one out there into the outfield, and there you
The series finale Thursday afternoon will be Texas' eighth game of a
season-long 11-game road trip. A win would assure the Rangers of
their second series win on the trip before heading to Washington for
a weekend three-gamer against the Nationals.
"We've been playing good baseball," Washington said. "We've just got
to continue to be consistent and continue to get better."
Texas will start righty Nick Martinez (1-1, 2.14 ERA) on Thursday
against Minnesota right-hander Samuel Deduno (1-3, 3.48)
NOTES: The Twins scratched CF Aaron Hicks two hours before the game
with what the team classified as a stiff lower back. Danny Santana
started in center and went 0-for-2 with a walk. ... The Rangers
optioned LHP Aaron Poreda to Triple-A Round Rock before the game to
make room on the roster for Wednesday night's starter, LHP Joe
Saunders. Poreda was 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in 15 games with Texas this
season. ... Texas has not announced a roster move involving RHP Yu
Darvish, who was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday due to
neck stiffness. An MRI came back "unremarkable" on Tuesday, and the
team was going to see how he felt Wednesday and Thursday before
deciding whether he would be ready for his next scheduled start,
Sunday in Washington against the Nationals. ... Rangers SS Elvis
Andrus was ejected in the top of the sixth inning for arguing balls
and strikes. The ejection was his second of the season.
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