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Twins' comeback in 9th falls short vs. Rangers

Minnesota mounts late-inning rally after Odorizzi struggles
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- Through his first 10 starts with the Twins, right-hander Jake Odorizzi had a 3.17 ERA and their trade with the Rays for him in Spring Training appeared to be a steal.

But Odorizzi has scuffled since mid-May and turned in his worst outing of the season in a 9-6 loss to the Rangers on Saturday afternoon at Target Field. It was the third straight loss for the Twins, who have been outscored by 17 runs over that span, as they've been unable to gain any momentum from their series wins against the first-place Indians and Red Sox.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Through his first 10 starts with the Twins, right-hander Jake Odorizzi had a 3.17 ERA and their trade with the Rays for him in Spring Training appeared to be a steal.

But Odorizzi has scuffled since mid-May and turned in his worst outing of the season in a 9-6 loss to the Rangers on Saturday afternoon at Target Field. It was the third straight loss for the Twins, who have been outscored by 17 runs over that span, as they've been unable to gain any momentum from their series wins against the first-place Indians and Red Sox.

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"It's not something I take lightly," a clearly frustrated Odorizzi said. "I take a lot of pride in getting guys out. Trust me, I'm more frustrated about this than anybody in this clubhouse. This has been one of the tougher stretches in my short big league career. I've been trying to work on it. Been working in between starts, on film, mechanical stuff, everything. I just have to keep working, that's about it."

Odorizzi lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up six runs on six hits, a walk and a hit by pitch to see his ERA rise to 4.97. It was the second-shortest outing of his career; his previous low came on April 15, 2017, when he exited after one inning due to hamstring tightness. He also has a 7.39 ERA over his last seven starts.

Video: TEX@MIN: Rosario smacks a 2-run homer to open scoring

"I'm sure he's frustrated," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think part of those guys that you know are team-centered, they feel the disappointment of letting their teammates down and putting them in precarious positions. I think that, whether it's an encouraging word when he walks through the clubhouse or I get a chance to speak with him tomorrow, you can't sulk too long because it just doesn't work."

Odorizzi was staked to an early lead after Eddie Rosario connected on a two-run homer off veteran right-hander Yovani Gallardo in the first inning for Rosario's team-leading 17th blast. But it fell apart for Odorizzi after loading the bases with nobody out in the second.

Odorizzi walked Robinson Chirinos to bring in the first run before Delino DeShields laced a two-run single to center and Shin-Soo Choo ripped an RBI ground-rule double. Odorizzi got ahead of Nomar Mazara with an 0-2 count, but gave up a two-run single on a belt-high fastball.

"I threw it past him the first two times and he just inside-outed it to left field," Odorizzi said. "That's what I'm talking about. You execute a pitch in the other batter's box and Choo hits it down the line. When it goes bad, it goes really bad. You throw pitches you want to throw and it gets hit."

Video: TEX@MIN: Molitor on Odorizzi's disaster outing, loss

Odorizzi couldn't finish the inning and reliever Matt Magill was forced to throw 3 1/3 innings. Magill got out of the jam in the second, but served up a two-run homer to Chirinos in the third and a solo homer to Adrian Beltre in the fourth.

After scoring two runs in the first, Minnesota's offense went quiet against Gallardo, who entered with a 15.95 ERA in four appearances this year. The Twins didn't score again until a two-run homer from Logan Morrison in the sixth that knocked Gallardo from the game after 5 2/3 innings.

The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, forcing the Rangers to bring in closer Keone Kela. Kela gave up a two-run double down the left-field line to Rosario, struck out Eduardo Escobar and walked Brian Dozier to load the bases with two outs. But Kela struck out Morrison to end the game.

Video: TEX@MIN: Morrison crushes a 2-run shot to right

"We found a way to get the winning run up to the plate there in the ninth," Molitor said. "But you get behind 9-2 early, it's going to be an uphill fight."

ROMERO OPTIONED
Rookie right-hander Fernando Romero was optioned to Triple-A Rochester after the game and the Twins will bring up a reliever for Sunday's game after the bullpen worked 7 1/3 innings on Saturday. Romero (3-3, 4.38 ERA) had a 1.88 ERA through his first five Major League starts, but has posted a 7.54 ERA in five starts since then. He was scheduled to start on Thursday against the White Sox. With Monday's off-day, the Twins could move up Jose Berrios and Odorizzi, which would mean they wouldn't need a starter until Saturday against the Cubs. Lefty Adalberto Mejia could be a candidate to join the rotation.

"We've been talking about the starts and while they haven't been horrific or horrendous, it just looks like it has been a little bit more laborious for him," Molitor said. "Some of the things a young pitcher goes through, I think it's time to reset him a little bit."

SOUND SMART
Odorizzi was unable to get through six innings in each of his last seven starts, which is the longest stretch in his seven-year career. His previous worst streak of not getting through six innings was six starts from April 9-14, 2014.

HE SAID IT
"It's frustrating. There's no sugarcoating it. We need to win series and do it on a consistent basis. When you drop those first two, the goal is obviously not accomplished. Hopefully, with Jose [Berrios] tomorrow, who has been throwing really well, we feed off that and we get back on the right track tomorrow and accomplish our goal of a winning streak instead of the back and forth we've been doing." -- Odorizzi, on the Twins' recent slide

UP NEXT
Berrios (7-5, 3.51 ERA) will take the mound when the Twins host the Rangers in the series finale at Target Field on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. CT. Berrios has a 2.34 ERA over his last seven starts, and limited the Red Sox to one run over 6 1/3 innings in a no-decision last time out. The Twins will be going up against a familiar face in veteran Bartolo Colon (4-4, 4.91 ERA).

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

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