E-8 costly as Twins lose 4th straight, 6-2 at Rangers
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Minnesota center fielder Aaron Hicks drifted back and stuck his glove in the air to make the catch he’s made so many times in the past.
This time, the ball flicked off his glove and rolled to the wall.
Hicks’ two-base, two-run error with two outs in the eighth allowed the tiebreaking runs to score as the Texas Rangers pulled out a 6-2 victory over the Twins on Friday night in a game dominated early by two left-handed starters.
“It was just a low-liner that was hit hard, and for me, that’s a ball I catch all the time. I just happened to miss it and that’s it,” Hicks said. “Ridiculous. I don’t understand how I missed the ball and it’s like I said, I know I make that play every time.”
Leadoff hitter Brian Dozier scored both runs for Minnesota, which lost its fourth straight game.
Dozier walked to start the game, and his 12th homer of the season leading off the eighth made it 2-2 off reliever Tanner Scheppers (3-0).
The Twins, who used four pitchers in the eighth, had intentionally walked AL batting leader Prince Fielder to load the bases. Mitch Moreland hit the first pitch from Brian Duensing to center and Hicks’ misplay made it 4-2.
“The balls up high were really getting held up high. But he tracked it down,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “From my viewpoint, it was a little bit behind him, and sometime you lose your vision. It’s a little hard to follow into the glove that last 3, 4 feet. He just wasn’t able to make the play.”
Elvis Andrus had a career-high four RBIs for the Rangers, including his two-run homer in the seventh off Tommy Milone to end a 20-inning scoreless streak by Texas. He followed Moreland with a two-run single.
Milone struck out eight and limited the Rangers to three hits over seven innings. He had retired 12 straight and allowed only one hit before Fielder’s leadoff single in the seventh and Andrus’ homer to left two batters later.
Aaron Thompson (1-2) took over to start the eighth and allowed a walk and a fielder’s choice before Minnesota made three more pitching changes in the inning.
The Twins had the bases loaded with no outs in the first inning, but managed to get only one run after a sacrifice fly by Trevor Plouffe.
Starting with that fly ball, Rangers starter Wandy Rodriguez retired 18 straight batters until Plouffe’s single to start the seventh.
“I know this, I’m never going to discount Wandy out of inning or any moment,” manager Jeff Banister said. “To have bases loaded right out of the gate and only to give up one run in that inning, fantastic job by him. Tremendous job by Wandy and a true testament to who he is and what he wants to do for this ball club.”
LOT OF PITCHES
Rodriguez threw 122 pitches, the last coming on a 10-pitch walk by Eduardo Escobar that loaded the bases in the seventh. Rodriguez struck out six and walked three while throwing the most pitches by a Texas pitcher since Yu Darvish’s 126 in a near no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox on May 9, 2014.
Rangers: Slugger Josh Hamilton is doing a “brisk jog” on a treadmill, but still has not swung a bat since straining his left hamstring May 31. He said the tightness in his left hamstring has subsided, but still has general soreness in both hamstrings. ... LHPs Matt Harrison (spinal fusion surgery) and Martin Perez (Tommy John surgery) are both set for starts for Triple-A Round Rock, Harrison makes his third rehab start Sunday in Memphis and Perez his second next week when the Express are back home. ... LHP Derek Holland (left shoulder strain) will get another MRI next Friday.
Twins: RHP Mike Pelfry, whose 2.28 ERA is fourth-lowest in the AL, starts five days after tossing eight scoreless innings against Milwaukee.
Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis will be trying to get a win against the only AL team he has never defeated as a Ranger. Lewis is 0-4 with a 7.53 ERA in seven career starts against the Twins.