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Minor deals as Rangers slug to win 6th straight

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Rangers' winning streak began with a terrific performance by left-hander Mike Minor and he was instrumental in it reaching six straight on Friday night.

Minor held the Twins to one run through six innings and relievers Chris Martin and Jesse Chavez did the rest in a combined three-hitter and an 8-1 victory over the Twins at Target Field. Shin-Soo Choo's two-run home run in fifth was the big blow to allow the Rangers to continue enjoying their longest winning streak of the season.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Rangers' winning streak began with a terrific performance by left-hander Mike Minor and he was instrumental in it reaching six straight on Friday night.

Minor held the Twins to one run through six innings and relievers Chris Martin and Jesse Chavez did the rest in a combined three-hitter and an 8-1 victory over the Twins at Target Field. Shin-Soo Choo's two-run home run in fifth was the big blow to allow the Rangers to continue enjoying their longest winning streak of the season.

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Rangers starters are 4-0 with a 2.89 ERA in their last six starts. That includes Minor's outing on Saturday against the Rockies when he held them to two runs in seven innings.

"Quality," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Quality pitches. Quality execution. Really attacking the strike zone and going out of the zone when they want to get the chase. But for the most part, it has been strike one and pounding the strike zone with all of their pitches and commanding all of their pitches."

Minor is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in his last three starts. Opponents are hitting .212 off him and he has allowed just one home run over 19 innings. This is what the Rangers need to see for an extended period of time because Minor signed a three-year deal in the offseason. He is the only starter who is locked in for next year without any club options needed to keep him around.

"I feel pretty good mechanically," Minor said. "I've had good defense behind me and Robinson [Chirinos] has been putting down the signs. I felt pretty good for the most part until the sixth inning. Last week and this week have been a culmination of what could come. Hopefully I can keep going. I think the team is coming together."

Minor allowed only one baserunner in the first five innings. Brian Dozier had a two-out single off him in the first but was cut down by left fielder Joey Gallo trying to turn it into a double. Minor then retired the next 12 batters he faced.

Video: TEX@MIN: Gallo cuts down Dozier at second base

"He was good, especially early," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He didn't have to throw a lot of pitches, got some first-pitch outs leading off innings, which kind of hampers the next guy up. So, try to make him throw at least a few pitches. We only really had one inning where we got anything going and we kind of ran ourselves out of potentially putting together an inning there."

Minor ran into trouble in the sixth when a one-out double by Joe Mauer drove in one run and left runners at second and third. But Minor, protecting a three-run lead, retired Eddie Rosario on a popup to second baseman Rougned Odor and Dozier on a foul pop to first baseman Ronald Guzman to end the threat.

"That inning they started fouling a lot of balls off and I started not making very good pitches. It could have been bad but I threw a ton of pitches. Luckily, I got out of that," Minor said.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Twins began the bottom of the sixth with a double by Max Kepler and a walk to Ryan LaMarre. With Bobby Wilson at the plate, a pitch got away from catcher Robinson Chirinos and both runners tried to move up. LaMarre got a late start and Chirinos made a play for him. LaMarre was tagged out in a rundown, a play that kept the sixth from being a bigger inning for the Twins.

Video: TEX@MIN: Chirinos throws out LaMarre at second base

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Choo extended his on-base streak to 35 straight games with a two-run home run in the fifth. It was his 14th home run of the season, his most ever before the All-Star break.

Video: TEX@MIN: Choo clubs a 2-run homer to right field

HE SAID IT
"Not bad. It was a little shorter than the first two, the other were four. This was two, I'll take it. You just want to go out there and put up as many zeros as you can and get it to the next guy." -- Chavez, on earning his third career save and first since 2015

Video: TEX@MIN: Chavez earns a six-out save to seal win

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Twins ended up on the right side of two straight challenges in the top of the seventh after Chirinos led off with a single and Ronald Guzman walked. Delino DeShields followed with a bunt and was ruled safe at first when he appeared to beat third baseman Taylor Motter's throw. Molitor challenged and the call was overturned, leaving runners at second and third.

Video: TEX@MIN: Motter nasb DeShields on overturned call

After Choo walked, Elvis Andrus ripped a line drive up the middle and second baseman Dozier made a tremendous diving catch to his right. He then flipped the ball to shortstop Ehire Adrianza to double off Guzman. The Rangers challenged that call but it was upheld.

Video: TEX@MIN: Dozier turns incredible DP, call stands

UP NEXT
Right-hander Yovani Gallardo is scheduled to make his second start for the Rangers against the Twins at 1:10 p.m. CT Saturday at Target Field. Gallardo allowed five runs in five innings in his first start on Sunday against the Rockies. He was 2-1 with a 3.81 ERA in 10 starts at Triple-A Round Rock before being brought back to the big leagues. He is 4-2 with a 3.49 ERA in 11 career starts against the Twins. Right-hander Jake Odorizzi pitches for the Twins.

T.R. Sullivan< has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

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