MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins have endured plenty of setbacks this season, displaying enough recent deficiencies to be pushed behind in the American League wild-card race after controlling a spot for three months.
Resiliency is not a problem.
Eduardo Escobar’s two-out double in the ninth inning drove in the winning run, capping a late rally by the Twins for a timely 3-2 victory Tuesday night against the Texas Rangers.
”That’s kind of how we’ve been all year,” said Kyle Gibson, whose strong six-inning start kept the Twins in striking position. ”We lost it there for a little bit here in the second half, but we’re looking to get it back and definitely going to finish strong here in the next couple months.”
Kyle Gibson recovered from a rough four-start stretch for the Twins, when he went 0-3 and allowed 22 runs in 22 innings. The only misstep Tuesday was an 0-1 slider left over enough of the plate for Elvis Andrus to send a line drive into the flower bed atop the left-field wall.
The last time through the rotation, Twins starters lasted a combined 15 2/3 innings, giving up 36 runs. No starter had given up fewer than six runs in the past week, but Gibson bucked that trend with a quality start. Though he didn’t throw a 1-2-3 inning all night, he limited the damage to just two earned runs.
“Every loss is disappointing, no doubt about it, but we’re moving on to the next one,” Gibson told MLB.com reporters after his last start against Toronto. “We’re in a little bit of the funk right now but you have to focus on the next one. The only way to turn it around is to not worry about the streak we’re on now and move on to the next one.”
Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano personified the Twins’ short memory as they tied the game on Tuesday with RBI doubles in the eighth.
Glen Perkins (1-3) pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up the win, just the seventh for the Twins in 23 games since the All-Star break.
”We talked about fighting, we talked about battling and we talked about not giving up,” Perkins said, ”and we sure did that tonight.”
Spencer Patton (1-1) got the first two outs in the ninth. But he walked Kurt Suzuki before reaching the bottom of the order with Escobar, who bounced a full-count fastball down the right-field line. Suzuki scored easily, and the Twins piled on Escobar in celebration.
This came right after the Twins returned from a brutal road trip to Toronto and Cleveland when they went 1-6 and were outscored 60-27, dropping them in the chase for two AL wild cards and prompting a players-only meeting in the clubhouse before batting practice.
”I wouldn’t say desperate, but,” manager Paul Molitor said, before transitioning to another topic.
Jake Diekman, acquired last month by the Rangers in the same trade with Philadelphia that fetched ace Cole Hamels, ominously walked Escobar to start the eighth inning.
”Walks at this level, late in the game, early in the game, middle of the game, they come back to get you,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
Andrus hit his two-run homer in the second inning, and Yovani Gallardo and the first two Rangers relievers nearly made that stand up.
Gallardo gave up only two singles and three walks in 5 2/3 shutout innings, but needed 100 pitches to get there while the Twins patiently worked their counts. Gallardo has completed six innings only once in his last seven turns.
”Hopefully we ride that bike and the wheels don’t fall off until October,” right fielder Torii Hunter said.
Minnesota Twins’ Kyle Gibson tossed a solid 6.0 innings Tuesday in a no-decision, surrendering only two runs and striking out seven against the Texas Rangers. The Greenfield-Central graduate’s pitching line against the Rangers as well as for the season: