via Texas Rangers
MINNEAPOLIS — The Rangers’ winning streak began with a terrific performance by left-hander Mike Minor and he was instrumental in it reaching six straight on Friday night.
Minor held the Twins to one run through six innings and relievers Chris Martin and Jesse Chavez did the rest in a combined three-hitter and an 8-1 victory over the Twins at Target Field. Shin-Soo Choo’s two-run home run in fifth was the big blow to allow the Rangers to continue enjoying their longest winning streak of the season.
Rangers starters are 4-0 with a 2.89 ERA in their last six starts. That includes Minor’s outing on Saturday against the Rockies when he held them to two runs in seven innings.
“Quality,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “Quality pitches. Quality execution. Really attacking the strike zone and going out of the zone when they want to get the chase. But for the most part, it has been strike one and pounding the strike zone with all of their pitches and commanding all of their pitches.”
Minor is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in his last three starts. Opponents are hitting .212 off him and he has allowed just one home run over 19 innings. This is what the Rangers need to see for an extended period of time because Minor signed a three-year deal in the offseason. He is the only starter who is locked in for next year without any club options needed to keep him around.
“I feel pretty good mechanically,” Minor said. “I’ve had good defense behind me and Robinson [Chirinos] has been putting down the signs. I felt pretty good for the most part until the sixth inning. Last week and this week have been a culmination of what could come. Hopefully I can keep going. I think the team is coming together.”
Minor allowed only one baserunner in the first five innings. Brian Dozier had a two-out single off him in the first but was cut down by left fielder Joey Gallo trying to turn it into a double. Minor then retired the next 12 batters he faced.
“He was good, especially early,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “He didn’t have to throw a lot of pitches, got some first-pitch outs leading off innings, which kind of hampers the next guy up. So, try to make him throw at least a few pitches. We only really had one inning where we got anything going and we kind of ran ourselves out of potentially putting together an inning there.”
Minor ran into trouble in the sixth when a one-out double by Joe Mauer drove in one run and left runners at second and third. But Minor, protecting a three-run lead, retired Eddie Rosario on a popup to second baseman Rougned Odor and Dozier on a foul pop to first baseman Ronald Guzman to end the threat.
“That inning they started fouling a lot of balls off and I started not making very good pitches. It could have been bad but I threw a ton of pitches. Luckily, I got out of that,” Minor said.