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Twins 4, Rangers 3: Minnesota escapes RISPs, increases division lead

LOBster night in Arlington.

Minnesota Twins v Texas Rangers
Wait — is Cron kicking dirt on Odoriizi, Billy-Martin-style? Say it’s not so, Cro’.
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

In a pitching battle, in a ballpark where baseballs go far, two Twins homers beat the Rangers’ ability to drive in runs when the opportunity arose. Cleveland lost, so they’re second in the AL Central by 1.5 games with 39 to go.

Inning-by-inning notes:

1: Twins do make Mike Minor throw 26 pitches. That’s good, because the Texas bullpen is every bit Minnesota’s equal.

Is it just me, or is a sponsorship of some kitty litter brand an opportunity Jake Odorizzi needs to cash in on? “I’m Jake Odorizzi, and my cats love Odor Easy.”

2: Marwin Gonzalez is so excited about his first-ever hit against Minor, he tries to make it a double and is thrown out by the distance of Earth To Moon.

Rougned Odor cannot do a kitty litter tie-in, because his name is pronounced differently. I suppose “Odure” could be an expensive, Calvin Klein version of Axe Body Spray. Any baseball player would have the correct aroma after nine innings in Dallas summer weather.

3: Isiah Kiner-Falefa is from Honolulu. I suppose that means I cannot open any Kona Brewing beer during this game. Too bad, it’s on sale and it’s good beer. That’s OK, I have some local stuff for later. Also some Oregon beer, that’s neutral. You can never have too many different beers around.

4: Torii Hunter arrives in the radio booth, and Odor promptly drops an easy Miguel Sano popup. Max Kepler dongs Minor’s next pitch over the right-field fence. Thank you, Torii! I should have some Arkansas beer around here, but I don’t.

Texas singles runners on the corners with one out, and Odorizzi strikes out Nomar Mazara on seven pitches. Then wilds home Elvis Andrus on one pitch. Torii is kicked out of the booth for his Evil, Evil Mojo. Twins 2-1

5: Ehire Adrianza leads off with a single, then tries to steal and is thrown out by the distance of Earth To Jupiter. Must be some heavy gravity at second base sucking in Twins runners.

I decide to go with a Surly Hell, because it’s very hot at that ballpark right now. Odorizzi gets through the inning on six pitches. My beer choice was a “bright” idea (that’s what “hell” means in German.)

6: Leadoff double for Shin-Soo Choo. Old friend Danny Santana strikes out, and Jonathan Schoop makes a nice play to rob Andrus of a game-tying grounder. Willie Calhoun walks. Mazara doubles in both runners on a 3-2 count, Odorizzi’s 99th pitch. Twins could have used another lefty reliever there. Isn’t it pretty to think so? Rangers 3-2

7: Schoop strokes a two-run bomba on Minor’s 100th pitch. Baldelli rewards him by subbing in Eddie Rosario on defense, moving Luis Arraez from left to second. I don’t think there’s much difference between Arraez and Schoop in the Catch Balls department, but Arraez is due up in the #2 slot and he’s a good OBP guy. Rosario slides in at #8, which might be important later. (Or not. I broke my crystal ball trying to drink beer out of it one time.)

New Guy Sam Dyson acts like a vacuum cleaner and cleans up a mess (which he caused), getting Choo to GIDP with the tying run on third. Twins 4-3

8: Sano walks for the second time tonight, proving everyone right who just absolutely knew he’d be the next Adam Dunn. Nothing comes of it, though.

All roads don’t lead to Sergio Romo, it would seem. Taylor Rogers comes in for a dreaded two-inning save (Tyler Duffey finished the sixth.) GEEZ MAYBE MOAR RELIEVERS WOULDA HELPED. Texas plays the horrific children’s ditty “Mommy Shark” before Andrus bats; for this they deserve to lose every game between now and eternity.

With two outs, Calhoun reaches on what’s scored a Sano error (note: this was later changed). Mazara singles and Calhoun reaches third; the Rangers can run. Rogers gets Odor on pitch #17. The ninth should be... interesting.

9: Looks like I’m no Romo sapiens, because here he is. Kiner-Falefa has a one-out double; it’s SRE time. After an easy out and Choo walk, it’s all up to Santana. He avoids striking out the fourth time by grounding to short. Ballgame.

Incidentally, Santana’s OPS at home entering this game was 1.066. On the road, it’s a more familiar (to Twins fans) .799. Which is still not bad, but it does indicate there’s a little warm-weather action helping his numbers out. Robot Roll Call:

Comment of the broadcast: Torii Hunter saying baseball in this weather is like “playing in a sauna. Or a jacuzzi under a jacuzzi.”

Interesting factoid from radio: this makes the all-time Twins/Rangers series record 274-274.

Tomorrow’s game is also at 7:05 (1:05 AM if you’re watching from Portugal!) It’ll be José Berríos against 23-year-old righty Ariel Jurado. Juardo is nicknamed “Bartolito,” for some reason, so may the best nickname win. (It’s La Makina, BTW.)