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Rangers 3, Twins 1: A lifeless performance

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Flat-out, the Twins turned in a flat performance

MLB: Texas Rangers at Minnesota Twins
The Rangers were group-hugging again at the Twins’ expense.
Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins did not appear all too interested in playing baseball on Wednesday night.

It was apparent that the life-sucking loss on Tuesday had a lasting impact. After all, leading 3-1 in the ninth and losing 6-3 in 10 innings is about a bad as it gets. But on top of what is now an 11-18 start to the season, May is suddenly beginning to look worryingly like much of the month of April.

The Twins scored first again, with Mitch Garver depositing an inside fastball onto the concourse on the terrace level in left field. But a bloop single and a grounder through the hole gave the Texas Rangers runners on the corners in the fourth inning. After Lewis Thorpe struck out Adolis Garcia, a high flip from Jorge Polanco to Andrelton Simmons on a potential inning-ending double-play ball allowed the game-tying run to score.

Thorpe got out of the inning without any further damage, and the Twins quickly loaded the bases in the bottom half of the inning on a Nelson Cruz walk, a Kyle Garlick automatic double, and a Garvsauce walk. But Polanco compounded his mistake in the top of the inning with a strikeout. After the Rangers replaced the effective starting pitcher, Hyeon-Jong Yang with John King, both Max Kepler and Miguel Sano bounced into force-outs and the inning was over.

The Rangers had wrested momentum away from the home team at this point, although Thorpe pitched a one-two-three top of the fifth.

The Aussie came back out for the sixth inning and promptly gave up back-to-back singles, giving Texas runners on the corners. Rocco Baldelli turned to Cody Stashak, who spiked a wild pitch into the dirt, allowing the go-ahead run to score. After a walk and a ground-out, Andy Ibanez knocked a sacrifice fly into deep left-center field, and the Rangers had built a 3-1 lead.

Kyle Garlick led off the bottom of the sixth with his second double of the game but was stranded at second base as Garver, Polanco, and Kepler went down with hardly so much as a whimper. The Twins also got leadoff singles in the seventh (Sano) and the eighth (Cruz) and a leadoff walk in the ninth (also Sano), but could not advance a runner into scoring position for the rest of the game.

Notes

  • A night after the bullpen was basically solely to blame for a horrific loss, a suddenly anemic and somewhat disinterested offense was the culprits in this one. The Twins scattered eight hits but only once had multiple knocks in an inning.
  • What if Garlick’s double doesn’t bounce over the wall in the fourth inning? Cruz almost surely scores from first, allowing the Twins to answer the Rangers’ game-tying run by going ahead only two batters later. Does the momentum swing considerably? Maybe.
  • Byron Buxton had another double and another fantastic catch in the gap, but the quality of two of his four at-bats wasn’t quite to the level we’ve become accustomed to seeing. Then again, he is still awesome and small things seem easy to complain about all of a sudden because this team can’t string wins together.
  • The bullpen has been severely overworked in the first three games of this series. Who knows how get-away day will play out on Thursday, but hopefully Michael Pineda can pitch six frames, give or take an out or two.

Studs

  • Kyle Garlick: 2-for-4, 2 2B
  • Mitch Garver: 1-for-3, HR, BB

Duds

  • Jorge Polanco: 0-for-4, 3 K, 4 LOB, bad defensive play at a key moment
  • Andrelton Simmons: 0-for-4, 2 K, non-competitive at-bat to end the game

Roll Call