One Big Inning Enough For Rangers To Beat Sonny Gray, Twins

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ARLINGTON, TEXAS — A steady stream of Twins baserunners and hits weren’t a match for a one-inning downpour from the Rangers.

The Rangers put together a five-hit, six-run fifth inning to take the lead and chase starter Sonny Gray from the game, as the Twins fell, 6-5, on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at Globe Life Field.

The Twins had lead 3-0 early from Carlos Correa’s first-inning, two-run homer to the bullpen and Max Kepler’s RBI single in the third. They also benefited from several Rangers mistakes, from fielding fails to pickoff blunders to wild pitches.

While Gray gave up only one hit through four innings — including a quick eight-pitch first inning — that was largely from some clutch defensive plays, including a diving catch at the wall for center fielder Byron Buxton in the fourth. In the fifth, Gray gave up two singles and a walk to start before clipping former Twins catcher Mitch Garver with a pitch to let in the Rangers’ first run.

Leody Taveras’ sacrifice fly brought in a second run before Josh Smith’s RBI single tied the score. Gray (4-2 ) exited after 4 2/3 innings for Caleb Thielbar, who promptly served up a tiebreaking three-run homer to Corey Seager to put Texas ahead 6-3.

Gray ended up giving up five hits, five runs and two walks, striking out no one for just the second time since the beginning of the 2019 season. The Twins offense came within one run in the top of the sixth.

Nick Gordon smacked a leadoff double, and Ryan Jeffers scored them both on his home run. That spelled the end of Rangers starter Jon Gray’s evening after 5 1/3 innings in which he surrendered nine hits, three earned runs, a walk with eight strikeouts.

Gray earned the win and is 5-4. Though the Twins offense got out to a fast start with Correa’s homer, it also wasted a number of other scoring chances, and those blown opportunities proved costly.

Gordon led off the second inning with a double but was left stranded at second. After Kepler’s RBI single in the third inning, he quickly advanced to second on a wild pitch, but the Twins failed to bring him in.

And in the fourth inning, after Jeffers singled and Luis Arraez doubled to put runners on second and third, Correa was called out on a strike three that appeared to drift outside the strike zone, and Buxton popped out.

In the seventh inning, Buxton was hit by a pitch and went to second on Jorge Polanco’s one-out single, but pinch hitters Kyle Garlick and Jose Miranda were retired on flyouts.

Buxton has only two his in his past 31 at-bats.Both hits were home runs — a walk-off shot against Baltimore on July 1 and a two-run homer against the White Sox on July 4.

Jharel Cotton pitched the sixth and seventh for the Twins, giving up just up two hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Emilio Pagan took the mound in the eighth inning and went one-two-three with two strikeouts.

Brett Martin pitched a clean top of the ninth, retiring Buxton, Kepler and Polanco to earn his first career save.

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