Update: Outfielder Eddie Rosario, who struggled at the plate earlier in the year and then compounded things with some crummy base running, “redemptified” — to quote Max Kepler — himself Saturday night, going four-for-five at the plate, including two doubles and a home run to beat the Rangers 8-6. Ricky Nolasco finally picked up his fourth win, while old friend Kyle Lohse got knocked around pretty good, surrendering six runs, all earned, in five innings of work. The Twins have taken two of three from the Rangers and will now try to win the series on Sunday with Tommy Milone. Despite pitching well enough in his last start to get his first win of the season, Milone beating the Rangers in Texas strikes me as a tall order. The Rangers have the fourth best team batting in the American League (the Twins are 10th), while Milone has a career ERA versus the Rangers of 4.62. Could be worse, I guess. Maybe Rosario will carry the Twins for another day? Rosario, if you didn’t know, hit .267 with 15 triples in his rookie campaign last season, finishing sixth in the Rookie of the Year vote.
Max Kepler on his 2-run homer in the 8th: "I got a second chance and took advantage of it. I redemptified myself. I made up that word."
— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) July 8, 2016
Earlier: The Twins and Rangers played a see-saw game on Friday, with the Rangers finally prevailing 6-5 after the Twins couldn’t hold a 5-4 lead. The Rangers — as I learned while listening to the game — are tough customers in one-run contests, improving to 19-7 in those situations. The Twins on the other hand are 8-16. Starter Kyle Gibson wasn’t terrible, but he labored through the early part of the game and was close to 100 pitches after five innings. He gave up four runs, all earned, and then turned it over to Ryan Pressly who got hung with the blown save and loss. The rest of the game was a mixed bag: Miguel Sano hit his team-leading 14th home run, but outfielder Byron Buxton apparently was carted off the field after injuring his right knee. After the game, the Rangers announced that old friend Kyle Lohse will get the ball on Saturday. Lohse, who started his career with the Twins, spent six seasons with the team before being traded to the Reds. He was 51-57 with the Twins, but turned things around when he joined the St. Louis Cardinals. In five seasons with the Cardinals, his record improved to 55-35, including a 16-3 mark in 2012. For his career, Lohse is 147-141 with an ERA of 4.71.
Rangers will call up former Twins righthander Kyle Lohse and start him in tomorrow night's game.
— Phil Miller (@MillerStrib) July 9, 2016
Original post: Against the backdrop of protests and gun violence in downtown Dallas, the Twins ran up the score on the Texas Rangers to beat them 10-1 on Thursday in Arlington.
Heartbreaking. My hotel is right next to where this all took place. Walked right by that area today. https://t.co/p7uifoukU9
— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) July 8, 2016
It was a tough night to write about sports after a number of Dallas police officers were shot and killed, likely in response to the deaths of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota at the hands of white police officers. All Americans have the right — and should exercise that right — to protest and demonstrate against the kind of violence that white police officers have shown black Americans. But the answer is not more gun violence. As my Twitter feed filled with news and opinion about the shooting deaths in Dallas, an opinion appeared that I think we can all get behind and that should guide us in the coming days:
I don't want black men shot at traffic stops. I don't want cops shot by snipers. I don't want kids shot at school. I don't want any of this.
— EM Simpson (@charlie_simpson) July 8, 2016
Meanwhile, Phil Miller of the Strib captured the mood on Thursday as news of the Dallas shootings filtered into the press box.
It was an odd atmosphere in the press box tonight, as reports kept coming in about the snipers in nearby Dallas. An already-quiet press box was totally silent for much of the game.
But the game went on, another Twins’ victory over the team with the best record in the AL — they’re now 3-1 against the Rangers, having outscored them 34-13.
The Twins banged out 18 hits, scoring early and late in the game, and got home runs from Kurt Suzuki, Max Kepler and Kennys Vargas. Starter Tyler Duffey had another strong outing to get his fifth win. He struck out nine over six innings, allowing only two hits with four walks.
-Pitching coach Neil Allen was reinstated Thursday after completing a five-week treatment program at Hazelden Betty Ford, following his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving. Allen told reporters that falling off the wagon had nothing to do with the team’s poor play. Maybe not. But now Allen returns to the Twins in a new pressure-filled situation. That’s because the interim replacement, Eric Rasmussen, appeared to have success with the staff, getting notable wins from Tyler Duffey, Tommy Milone and Ervin Santana.
Kyle Gibson gets the ball on Friday.