Hicks' first error comes at inopportune time
ARLINGTON -- Aaron Hicks' first error of the season couldn't have come at a more inopportune time.
After Brian Dozier tied the game with a solo blast in the eighth, the Rangers loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom half for Mitch Moreland with left-hander Brian Duensing on the mound. Moreland hit a hard liner to straight away center field that Hicks tracked down, only for it to hit off his glove and bring home two runs. Elvis Andrus, who hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh off lefty Tommy Milone, added a two-run single to give the Rangers two insurance runs to hand the Twins a 6-2 loss on Friday night.
It marked a season-high fourth-straight loss for the Twins, as they're now 3-8 in June after going 20-7 in May. Hicks didn't offer any excuses after the game and said the high winds at Globe Life Park didn't factor in on the play.
"It's just ridiculous," Hicks said. "I don't understand how I missed the play. I know I make that play every time."
Right fielder Torii Hunter consoled Hicks after the play in center field while the Twins made a pitching change, and said he believes Hicks will be able to put the misplay behind him.
"I don't know if it was an error because he was running back on the ball," Hunter said. "I've been there before. Maybe not that way, but I've been in situations where I dove for a ball and it got by me to score winning runs. So I'm sure it won't be his last one. It hurts today, but in the end it makes you a better person and a better player."
It was a tough way to lose for the Twins, who have been struggling offensively this month. After averaging 5.2 runs per game in May, they're scoring just 2.5 runs per game in June. Milone pitched well, giving up just three hits over seven innings, with the two runs he allowed coming on the homer from Andrus. But Rangers lefty Wandy Rodriguez was also tough, giving up just one run on three hits over 6 2/3 innings.
The Twins have struggled against soft-tossers recently such as Royals starters Jason Vargas and Chris Young, but Twins manager Paul Molitor said it's not a pattern, as they've simply struggled against all types of pitching recently. Minnesota went just 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position, scoring only in the first on a sacrifice fly from Trevor Plouffe with the bases loaded and on Dozier's game-tying solo blast in the eighth.
"I don't know if matters right now [who we're facing] because we just seem to be pressing a little at the plate," Molitor said. "The pattern is we're not putting together good innings as far as starting and completing an inning and pushing runs across."