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Minor crumbles in 3rd as Texas falls short vs. O's

July 15, 2018

BALTIMORE -- Mike Minor gave his shortest performance since returning to a starter role in the Rangers' 6-5 loss to the Orioles on Sunday at Camden Yards. Now he'll have to wait nine days for a chance to make amends.Minor (6-6) allowed six runs -- five earned -- over 2

BALTIMORE -- Mike Minor gave his shortest performance since returning to a starter role in the Rangers' 6-5 loss to the Orioles on Sunday at Camden Yards. Now he'll have to wait nine days for a chance to make amends.
Minor (6-6) allowed six runs -- five earned -- over 2 2/3 innings in his final outing before the All-Star break, departing after facing seven batters in the Orioles' five-run third. And as the lefty approaches the 100-inning threshold for the first time since shoulder surgery wiped out his 2015 and 2016 seasons, the Rangers continue watching his workload. He won't start again until July 24th, manager Jeff Banister said before the game.
"I'll be fine," Minor said of the long respite. "It's a chance to evaluate where you're at and reflect a little bit and then get back at it."
Minor worked all of 2017 out of the Royals' bullpen -- 77 2/3 innings in total -- before joining the Rangers' rotation this season.
"We talked about wanting him to not have to shut him down during the season because of the innings or anything like that," Banister said. "If this guy can complete his starts through the end of the season, it would be a huge mark for him."
Before joining the Rangers, Minor hadn't worked as a starter since 2014, his last of five seasons with the Braves. He entered Sunday having pitched to 2.65 ERA over his previous six starts.
"I feel better now than I did at the beginning of the season," Minor said. "Besides today, I've felt like I've had some pretty good games. … It's just more about -- like we've talked about in the past -- them being cautious with me."
But Minor couldn't make an early lead hold up after rookie Ronald Guzman's first career grand slam in the top of the first. He gave one run back when Manny Machado connected for a solo line shot to left in the bottom of the first, then failed to survive the third as the Orioles batted around.
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Catcher Caleb Joseph started the barrage with an RBI double. An out, single and a walk later, Adam Jones came up and cleared the bases with a double down the left-field line to give the Orioles a 5-4 lead and chase Minor after 68 pitches.
"He lost the feel for the baseball a little bit and then the pitch count got high," Banister said of the third inning. "He had three 10-pitch at-bats, which essentially ran him from the game".
Jones later scored with two outs on Jurickson Profar's throwing error.
That was enough damage to secure the Orioles' first home series win since May 11-13, thanks in part to a game-ending relay that nailed pinch-runner Carlos Tocci at the plate on Elvis Andrus' ninth-inning double.
Shin-Soo Choo connected for his 18th home run in the seventh off Mike Wright Jr. (3-0) to cut it to 6-5. But without another run, the Rangers returned to Texas for their break with just three wins from a 10-game road trip.

Choo finished 2-for-3 with two walks and the homer. With his first free pass to lead off the game against Orioles starter Miguel Castro, Choo extended his on-base streak to 51 games. That's the sixth longest over a single season in baseball history. Choo, who heads to Washington next week as a first-time All-Star, is one back of the 52-game stretch Kevin Millar posted in 2007 as a member of the Orioles.

"It won't be all completely down time. But there's three people and four dogs that I'm going to get to know again very well." -- Banister, on plans to spend the All-Star break with his family
Out at home, heading home: Tocci appeared to run through third-base coach Tony Beasley's stop sign on Andrus' double down the right-field line, and the Orioles had him out by several steps following a perfect 9-4-2 relay from Mark Trumbo to Jonathan Schoop to Joseph.

The Rangers return from the All-Star break Friday to open a three-game home series against the Indians, with Martin Perez (2-4, 7.67 ERA) set for his second start since returning from the DL. Texas dropped two of three in Cleveland in a set that began on the final day of April, despite scoring at least four runs in all three games. The Tribe has yet to name a starter for the 7:05 p.m. CT series opener at Globe Life Park.

Ian Quillen is a contributor to based in Baltimore.