ARLINGTON -- Yohander Mendez is getting another chance to pitch for the Rangers after his demotion for violating team rules in June, and he had a strong showing in his return to the rotation Sunday at Globe Life Park.Mendez allowed just three hits and struck out two over six scoreless
ARLINGTON -- Yohander Mendez is getting another chance to pitch for the Rangers after his demotion for violating team rules in June, and he had a strong showing in his return to the rotation Sunday at Globe Life Park.
Mendez allowed just three hits and struck out two over six scoreless innings in the Rangers' 18-4 win. It was a turnaround outing for the left-hander, who allowed six runs and lasted just three innings in his first Major League start on June 15 against the Rockies.
The Rangers hit the reset button on Mendez when they demoted him all the way down to Class A Advanced Down East on June 19. He went 2-4 with a 4.31 ERA in 13 combined starts for Down East, Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock before rejoining the Rangers on Saturday.
"It was a nice outing," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Obviously coming back from everything he has been through, recognize all of that, the poise on the mound. We challenged him with early contact, early outs.
"The idea of throwing strikes early, using the soft [pitches] early, which was key to how he used his fastball. Defense got him out of a couple of situations, but I thought that was as good as he could go his first time back."
Mendez was effective in his approach to pitching to contact, walking only one batter and needing just 79 pitches to get through six. He faced 21 batters and 13 of those at-bats ended in four pitches or fewer. He needed just seven pitches to retire the side in order in the third.
"For me, that's what I want, coming back," Mendez said. "Show those guys that I want to be [here]. I want to say thank you to everybody that supported me, and [Robinson] Chirinos, today, I followed him. Good calls. That's what I want."
Banister said Mendez will remain in the rotation moving forward, and Mendez is hoping he can continue to build off his outing against Minnesota.
"For me, the best appearance that I got, because you know, first win of my life," Mendez said. "I feel great because I threw well, and that's what I want, attacking early. I'm happy."
The Rangers' offense backed Mendez with plenty of support, collecting a club-record 13 extra-base hits. Elvis Andrus gave the club the lead with a two-run home run in the first inning, and Chirinos, Nomar Mazara and Jurickson Profar helped power a nine-run sixth.
Mazara hit his 19th home run of the season in the sixth, making it the third consecutive game he's gone deep. Profar added a two-run shot to right-center field, which made it the ninth time the Rangers have hit four or more home runs in a game this season.
Mazara went deep again in the eighth inning off position player Chris Gimenez to reach 20 home runs for the third straight season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Chirinos delivered the first big blow during the Rangers' nine-run rally in the sixth with a two-run home run off of Twins pitcher Zack Littell. That was his 17th home run of the season, tying his career high set last year.
Gimenez pitched the eighth inning for the Twins and then hit a home run in the ninth. He becomes the first player to ever hit a home run at Globe Life Park in a game in which he pitched. The only other pitcher to ever hit a home run in Arlington was Hall of Fame reliever Rollie Fingers on June 27, 1972, for the Athletics at Arlington Stadium. That was the year before the designated hitter was adopted.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
With one out in the third inning, Mazara made a sliding catch in foul territory on a fly ball hit by John Forsythe down the right-field line.
HE SAID IT
"I know Belisle a little bit. You look at the reaction on the mound, I didn't get that there was anything intentional there." -- Banister, on Twins reliever Matt Belisle being ejected in the sixth inning for hitting Adrian Beltre with a pitch
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
With runners on the corners and no outs in the fourth, Ronald Guzman turned a double play to keep a 2-0 lead for the Rangers intact. Max Kepler grounded out to Guzman at first, who then fired a throw home to nab Jorge Polanco at the plate. The Twins challenged the play, but the call was upheld. Willians Astudillo followed with a lineout to end the inning.
The Rangers will open a three-game series against the Angels on Monday at 7:05 p.m. CT at Globe Life Park. Left-hander Jeffrey Springs will make his first appearance as an "opener," with righty Ariel Jurado expected to follow him. Springs has 18 strikeouts and a 2.55 ERA in 10 games out of the bullpen. Los Angeles will counter with right-hander Matthew Shoemaker (1-0, 4.76 ERA).
Wesley Dotson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas.