MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins overcame a five-run first-inning deficit with three home runs to edge the Rangers, 6-5, on Sunday at Target Field. Minnesota split the four-game set with the win in the finale and pulled within three games of Kansas City and Tampa Bay for the second Wild Card spot, while Texas remains four games back.
James Dozier and Max Kepler homered during a four-run second inning, which featured a 32-minute rain delay, to trim the deficit to one run. Eddie Rosario, making his first career start as the cleanup hitter, evened the score in the third with a solo home run. All three homers came off Rangers left-hander Nick Martinez, who allowed five hits across four innings.
"We are getting more practice at it," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "It was a nice response and we just kind of hung in there."
Robbie Grossman delivered the go-ahead single in the bottom of the fifth off right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. It was enough to reward Jose Berrios with his 10th victory of the season. Right-hander Matt Belisle threw a scoreless ninth to earn his sixth career save and first since Oct. 3, 2012.
Berrios allowed six hits, including a pair of first-inning home runs to Adrian Beltre and Joey Gallo, which gave the Rangers a 5-0 lead. Gallo became the ninth Texas player to hit 30 home runs in the team's first 111 games and first since Josh Hamilton accomplished the feat in 2012.
"Yeah, it was disappointing to jump out to a five-run lead and not be able to put anything else across," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Tough one … Nick Martinez was very challenged today, especially with the fastball. He was unable to get the fastball where he wanted it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Beltre gets hit in head: Beltre, being used at designated hitter, got hit in the head by a line drive foul ball off the bat of Mike Napoli in the third inning. Beltre, who was standing on the top step of the dugout, was taken immediately to the clubhouse. He went through concussion protocol and was allowed to stay in the game. His next at-bat came in the fifth with runners at second and third with one out. Twins manager Paul Molitor brought the infield in and Beltre hit a hard grounder at shortstop Jorge Polanco. Shin-Soo Choo tried to score from third and was thrown out easily, leaving it a 5-5 game.
• Busy day for Beltre: homers, gets hit in head
"We weren't able to keep attacking," Beltre said. "We created some situations and came up short. It's tough when you start a game like that leading 5-0."
Adrianza robs Beltre: Beltre came up empty in another key situation in the top of the seventh. Trailing 6-5, Beltre sent a slider from Trevor Hildenberger up the middle with a runner in scoring position. Ehire Adrianza, who replaced Dozier (illness) in the sixth, made a running snag to end the inning. According to Statcast™, it only had an exit velocity of 70 mph, but had a hit probability of 72 percent.
"Beltre is a borderline shift guy," Molitor said. "We kind of had to cheat up the middle. But he did a nice job and ranged far enough to make a play. We made some good plays again today."
"Their infield had an extremely good series. They have so many athletic guys on the field. Their shortstop had a series he may want to bottle up and roll through the video." -- Banister, on the Twins infield
"I've just always wanted to win and I didn't care what that meant. Whatever piece of the puzzle I was, to be able to hold the trophy is what I cared about more." -- Belisle, on his feelings regarding closer role
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Dozier hit his 20th home run during a four-run second inning. It marked the fourth straight season that Dozier has hit at least 20 home runs, as he became the ninth Twin to accomplish the feat. Justin Morneau was the most recent Minnesota player to do so, recording five straight seasons of 20 or more homers between 2005-2009.
CRUCIAL REVIEW FAVORS TWINS
The Twins took a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the fifth when, with two outs and Eduardo Escobar on second, Grossman lined a hit off the right-field wall. Grossman was thrown out by Choo going for a double and Escobar barely got across home plate before the tag was made for the third out. That allowed the runs to count. The Rangers appealed that Escobar did not score in time but the call was upheld by review.
"A little bit of a mistake that we made is so close on the out at second and tag at home," Molitor said. "It's one of those things that shouldn't happen at this level and we almost got caught there."
BUX'S BUNT SINGLE
Byron Buxton showcased his speed with a leadoff bunt single in the fourth, which rolled past first base. According to Statcast™, Buxton went safely to first from home in 3.52 seconds, which is tied for fifth fastest home-to-first time on a hit this season. His sprint speed was clocked at 30.5 feet per second. To put that in comparison, he and Cincinnati's Billy Hamilton lead all of baseball with an average sprint speed of 30 ft/sec.
Rangers: Right-hander Andrew Cashner opens a two-game series against the Mets at 6:10 p.m. CT Tuesday at Citi Field. Cashner is 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA in his last three starts.
Twins: Right-hander Ervin Santana (12-7, 3.29 ERA) is slated to start against the Brewers on Monday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Santana is coming off his Major League-leading fifth complete game. He is 0-2 with a 7.41 ERA in three career starts against Milwaukee.
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