Though the results might not have born it out, Kenta Maeda had felt like he was moving in the right direction during his last start.
Monday, his stuff was working and he had the results to back it up. After giving up a combined 12 runs in his previous two starts, Maeda quieted the Rangers in a game that got tight after his departure during the Twins’ 6-5 win on Monday during the series opener at Target Field.
The Twins starter got back on track with 5 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out eight in his effort. The righty worked out of trouble in both the second and third innings, and capped off his outing by retiring eight straight batters.
He pitched with a lead for most of his outing as the Twins (11-16) took advantage of the gifts the Texas defense gave them on Monday. There was a ball airmailed way past third base, allowing a run to score. There was a play at the plate in which catcher Jose Trevino didn’t lay down a tag. There was some shaky outfield defense.
But the Twins sure won’t complain about that. The Twins grabbed their first run in the second, after Rangers right fielder Joey Gallo uncorked a ball that went way past third base. Alex Kirilloff, who had doubled and tagged up on Jorge Polanco’s fly out, scored on the play. Kirilloff was in the middle of the action throughout the game once again, doubling twice in the win and scoring three of the team’s runs. The rookie is now on a seven-game hitting streak.
They grabbed their second run on a play at the plate when Luis Arraez raced home on a Josh Donaldson double. Arraez was initially called out and was shaken up on the play, but replay review overturned the call after Trevino failed to tag Arraez.
Arraez remained in the game initially and was all smiles in the dugout but was removed later with concussion-like symptoms.
The Rangers made things tight in the later innings, scoring three runs in the eighth inning and another two in the ninth.