MINNEAPOLIS -- James Dozier hit a pair of homers to back a complete game by Bartolo Colon, as the Twins pushed past the Rangers by a score of 8-4 on Friday at Target Field. With the win, Minnesota moved ahead of Texas and pulled within 3.5 games of Kansas City for the second Wild Card spot.
Colon, 44, became the oldest pitcher to record a nine-inning complete game since Jamie Moyer did it at the age of 47 in 2010. His 37th complete game -- and his first since Sept. 5, 2015 -- came just over 20 years after his first on July 28, 1997. Colon is the oldest American League pitcher to throw a nine-inning complete game win since Nolan Ryan did so in 1992. He is the oldest right-hander to accomplish the feat since Charlie Hough in 1994.
"It means a lot to me and my family," Colon said. "At my age, to throw nine innings, it's impressive."
It was Colon's first win as a Twin, marking his 10th different organization that he has earned a victory with. Colon, who gave up four runs on nine hits and a walk, is now one club shy of matching the Major League record. Rick Reed (38 years, 271 days) was previously the oldest Minnesota pitcher to record a complete game in 2003.
At 44 years, 72 days, Colon is the oldest pitcher to earn a win over the Rangers since Yankees' Tommy John did so at 45 years, 44 days on July 5, 1988. Adrian Beltre delivered a two-run single in the first and Nomar Mazara drove in a run on a base hit in the third off Colon.
"He was doing what he always does good," said Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus, who tied a club record with three doubles. "No matter what team is the opponent, he tries to get ahead and then keep you off-balance with the curve and changeup. That's what he did tonight. We scored early but he kept fighting."
Both home runs by Dozier came off Texas left-hander Martin Perez, who was handed his fourth consecutive loss. Perez allowed seven runs off nine hits over 4 2/3 innings. Dozier notched his second multi-homer game of the season -- first since May 2 -- with a leadoff home run in both the first and second inning. Robbie Grossman also went deep off Perez with a three-run home run in the opening frame.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Four-run first: The Twins sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the first to overcome an early two-run deficit. Dozier opened the frame off with his club-leading 24th leadoff home run of his career and fifth this season. Four batters later, Grossman worked the count full and hit a three-run home run to take a 4-2 advantage. According to Statcast™, his seventh homer traveled an estimated 391 feet with an exit velocity of 100.2 mph.
"He can do that. He's been a guy to jump-start us, that's why he's up there at the top," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "The leadoff home run always gives you a little bit of a jolt, especially as a response to a deficit right out the chute."
Rosario delivers big hit:Eddie Rosario's two-out, two-run single in the fifth off Perez gave the Twins a 7-3 lead. Rosario entered the game hitting .118 with runners in scoring position and two outs, tied for the 11th lowest in the league. He also had just four hits in his previous 23 at-bats with runners in scoring position. But he was facing the right pitcher. Perez entered the game allowing opponents a .309 batting average with runners in scoring position.
• Perez's disappointing season continues
"He made a mistake up and allowed Rosario to get the ball in center field," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "It was a situation where he needed to make a pitch to get out of the inning and couldn't do it."
"That was a strike on the corner. But that's Mauer. You have to respect him. It's part of the game." -- Perez, who thought he had struck out Joe Mauer on a 3-2 pitch in the first. Mauer walked and scored on Grossman's home run
"I hope a lot of young guys took note of that. But golly, when he's filling up the zone pitch after pitch and relying on his defense and nibbling on the outer and inner half and working in that slider and changeup in there, you can't write it any better. That's a veteran pitcher for you. He knows how to get it done and that's why he's still pitching." -- Dozier, on Colon
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Colon has 21 career wins against the Rangers, the most ever against them by any opponent and his most against any team. It is tied for the third most by an active pitcher against any opponent. Felix Hernandez has 24 against the Athletics, Justin Verlander has 23 against the Royals, Clayton Kershaw has 21 against the Rockies and C.C. Sabathia has 21 against the Tigers. The all-time record is 64 for wins against a single opponent is held by Hall of Famer Warren Spahn against the Cardinals.
The only pitchers since 1966 to throw complete nine-inning game at age 44 or older are Colon, Jamie Moyer, Randy Johnson, Dennis Martinez, Charlie Hough, Tommy John, Phil Niekro and Gaylord Perry.
Rangers:Cole Hamels pitches against the Twins at 6:10 p.m. (CT) Saturday at Target Field. Hamels is 3-1 with a 4.74 ERA in seven starts since coming off the disabled list and 1-1 with a 7.27 ERA in his last three starts.
Twins: Right-hander Kyle Gibson (6-8, 6.08 ERA) last pitched for Minnesota on July 22, in which he allowed three runs over 7 1/3 innings. Gibson has a 2-0 record with a 2.84 ERA in five career starts against Texas.
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