Twins use seven pitchers, including a catcher, in 18-4 rout by Rangers
ARLINGTON, TEXAS Tampa Bay frequently has used an opener a reliever to pitch the first inning or two before the starter replaces him and has one of the best first inning ERAs in the league as well as an effective starters ERA.
The Twins used an opener on Sunday for the first time and Chris Gimenez ended up pitching.
Gimenez was the seventh, and final, pitcher for the Twins during an 18-4 trouncing by the Rangers. So the Twins experiment with the hot new pitching strategy was lost among the vapor trails throughout Globe Life Park as Texas bashed their way to victory to take two of the three games of the series. Two Twins pitchers were ejected before it was all over.
Tom Kelly used to call Texas, the airborne Rangers, for their ability to crush at the plate. It was throwback time on Sunday, as 13 of the Rangers 19 hits went for extra bases, including home runs by Elvis Andrus off Moya in the first inning, Robinson Chirinos off Zack Littell in the sixth, Nomar Mazara off Tyler Duffey in the sixth and Jurickson Profar off Alan Busenitz in the sixth - and home runs by Mazara and Drew Robinson off Gimenez, who appeared in his first game since being traded to the Twins on Thursday.
Yes, three of those blasts came in the sixth inning, during which the Rangers scored nine runs to take a 12-0 lead. It was a season high allowed by the Twins and season high scored by Texas.
Moya gave up two runs in the first inning. Littell, described by the Twins as their, primary pitcher, threw three scoreless innings before giving up Chirinos homer.
Duffey gave up four earned runs in one-third of an inning in the fifth before yielding to Matt Belisle. Belisle has been working on a new arm angle to get more movement. He buzzed Adrian Beltre with one pitch before hitting him with another, and umpire Alan Porter ejected him.
Before the game was over, reliever Addison Reed got tossed for arguing balls and strikes. That led to Gimenez to move from first base to the mound for the eighth. And the his former teammates greeted him with five runs.
Andrew Vasquez made his major league debut on Saturday, completing an impressive rise from Class A Fort Myers. He pitched at Class AA Chattanooga from June 22 to Aug. 20 then moved was at Class AAA Rochester until Saturday. His calling card is a slider that elicited many swings and misses in the minors.
Alas, his first major league appearance will be known for the two errors he made in the sixth inning, one when he dropped feed from Joe Mauer while covering first base, the other when a pickoff throw to first when awry, allowing a run to score.
Its not too often a pitcher makes two errors in an inning, Twins manager Paul Molitor said, much less your first inning in the big leagues.
Molitor tried to talk to Vasquez after the outing but could tell he was still in the moment.
Im sure his heart was beating a little more rapidly than normal. Even when I came in the dugout I came down and just talked about things that had happened. He was just still trying to let it all sink in.
Vasquez, because of connection issues, was late arriving to the park.
It was kind of a blur, Vasquez, 24, said. That was pretty crazy. Showed up around game time, got dressed and headed out to the bullpen. It was pretty unreal.
Vasquez, thanks to his slider, struck out 13.4 batters per nine innings in the minors. And hes up with the Twins with a chance to prove it can work on this level.
He showed us that breaking ball is going to have a chance to play, Molitor said. Well move forward.
Outfielder Eddie Rosario remains out with a strained right quadriceps, increasing the likelihood that he will not start any of the game in Houston.