This game was closely contested the whole way, with the first two runs scoring almost immediately, but the Twins were the victim of the last laugh as the Rangers walked them off in a 2-1 loss on Saturday night.
Mike Pelfrey started for the Twins and he recorded his best outing in a while. His 2-seamer was moving very well and the Rangers were having trouble making solid contact, as Pelfrey notched 7 strikeouts in 7 innings while allowing only 6 hits. Even more encouraging was that he didn't feature any control problems like he did in his last start, when he walked 6 batters in only 5 innings, as he did not issue a free pass tonight.
However, Pelfrey was matched pitch-for-pitch by the Rangers' Matt Garza, who also went 7 innings while striking out 9. Although Garza did walk 3 batters, he counteracted his bits of wildness by allowing only 3 hits.
The scoring happened early in this game as Brian Dozier led off with a solo home run down the left field line off Garza, his 3rd leadoff home run of the year (all in August) and his 15th of the year. The home run gave Dozier the title of having the most home runs for a Twins second baseman in a season, surpassing Tim Teufel's 14 in 1984.
The lead was short-lived as the Rangers came back to tie it in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler hit back-to-back singles to right field, but on Kinsler's hit, Andrus had to be removed from the game due to a sore back. After being replaced by Adam Rosales, Adrian Beltre knocked in Rosales with a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
From there, the teams traded zeroes as the offenses couldn't get anything started. Both teams had a few opportunities with getting runners into scoring position, but it wasn't until the 9th inning when someone was finally able to put another runner on 3rd base.
In the bottom of the 9th with the score still tied at 1, Caleb Thielbar started the inning by getting A.J. Pierzynski to pop out to shallow left field. Thielbar then fell behind Alex Rios 3-0 before grooving a fastball, which Rios lined into the left field corner for a double. Thielbar then intentionally walked pinch-hitter Jeff Baker to bring up Jurickson Profar, who flew out to center field but hit it deep enough to advance Rios to third base.
With Thielbar still on the mound, Rangers manager Ron Washington chose to pinch-hit Craig Gentry for David Murphy, and Ron Gardenhire countered the move by bringing in righty Josh Roenicke. However, the move backfired as Roenicke walked Gentry to load the bases. This brought up Leonys Martin, and Gardenhire chose to let Brian Duensing face him, but Martin hit a hot grounder back up the middle and into center field, scoring Rios with the winning run.
WP: Joe Nathan (5-2)
LP: Caleb Thielbar (2-2)
Mike Pelfrey (7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K), Brian Dozier (2 for 4, HR, RBI), Clete Thomas (2 for 3)
Chris Herrmann (0 for 3, BB, 2 K), Josh Willingham (0 for 4, 2 K), Ryan Doumit (0 for 3, BB, 3 K), Caleb Thielbar (2/3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB)
Player of the Game
Matt Garza (7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 9 K)
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