ARLINGTON -- Left-hander Kolby Allard continued to prove he belongs in the Rangers' rotation on Saturday afternoon.
Allard recorded a quality start, allowing just two runs on four hits and striking out six, but the Rangers fell to the Twins, 3-2, at Globe Life Field for their fifth consecutive loss.
“We're always trying to be as efficient as possible every time out there,” Allard said. “But I think the No. 1 thing is just going out there and executing. I’m just trying to get as many outs as I can and going as deep as we can, as long as we can so we can throw up zeros.”
Saturday marked the ninth consecutive quality start from the Rangers' rotation that did not result in a win for the starting pitcher.
Allard was perfect through three innings before he stumbled in the fourth, allowing a game-tying home run from Nelson Cruz that snapped a career-high 12-inning scoreless streak for the lefty. Allard bounced back afterward with two shutout frames to complete his six-inning outing on just 75 pitches.
Allard said he didn't think the pitch to Cruz missed by much -- a backdoor cutter low in the zone in a 1-0 count -- but good hitters like Cruz will drive a ball that catches too much of the plate.
Since moving to the rotation on May 27, he has lowered his ERA to 2.93. Allard said he’s gaining more confidence with each start. Manager Chris Woodward praised Allard’s command and his mix of pitches throughout the outing.
“I've always kind of had that belief in myself, even with how last year went," Allard said. “If you attack guys, mix pitches, mix speeds, in and out, up and down, you can go out there and have some success. I think I'm just trying to take that mentality and continue to run with it.”
The Twins took the lead in the seventh inning without a hit. It was instead a sequence that included a walk, a stolen base and two wild pitches from reliever John King. They were the first wild pitches the lefty has thrown this season.
King didn’t allow a hit in his three innings as the Rangers' staff continues to work him up to being part of the rotation down the stretch.
King said he was a little too “amped up” in the seventh inning, but he was otherwise confident in his outing. While he’s been successful coming out of the bullpen this season, posting a 2.41 ERA, King is excited to get back to a starting role soon.
“I really like the bullpen, but I've started my whole life,” he said. “So getting in the rhythm and starting the game and being able to do all that, it's just more natural. I made a good adjustment to the bullpen, so this piggyback thing is cool because I have more momentum or adrenaline coming in. But I'm glad that I have that under my belt now, so now I can build up and still be confident in that role.”
Shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa's career-high sixth homer of the season gave the Rangers a brief 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. Texas outhit the Twins, 7-4, but finished 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position.
“I didn’t think we executed the best [offensively],” Woodward said. “We need to play better baseball. We’ve got to get the job done. ... It's those little things that change the fate of the game. Like if we get a run there in the first inning, the whole game changes. We're shooting ourselves in the foot a lot.”