ARLINGTON -- The Twins continue to take advantage of the Rangers' starting pitching woes, pounding their way to an 8-6 victory Saturday night. The Twins have won four of six over the Rangers this season with just one more game left between the teams.
Twins starter Ricky Nolasco snapped a personal three-game losing streak by holding the Rangers to four runs in six innings. Nolasco allowed nine hits, but the Rangers were 1-for-6 off him with runners in scoring position. Home runs by Eduardo Nunez and Eddie Rosario helped the Twins win for the sixth time in eight games.
"We had enough offense," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We made their starter work again and got his pitch count up. Rosie had a big night."
Kyle Lohse made his first start for the Rangers and made it through five innings. That snapped the Rangers' streak of seven straight games in which their starter was unable to pitch five complete innings. But he still took the loss by allowing six runs on nine hits and two walks. Rangers starters are now 0-6 with a 10.45 ERA in their last eight games.
"Our guys continue to put runs on the board," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "The challenge is to maintain games. We have shown if we can keep the game in check, our hitters will come through. It all starts with starting pitching."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Nunez goes deep: Nunez's home run was his 12th of the season. He entered the year with 18 for his career, including 11 combined in 2013-15. He has hit six home runs at shortstop and six as a third baseman.
"That was a missile," Molitor said. "It looked like he got a slow offspeed pitch. The good thing about Nunez's swing is he can keep balls fair. He can stay inside the ball and pull it. It was a big add-on for us."
Rosario has big night: Rosario was 4-for-5 with two doubles and a home run. It's the first time this season he has had more than one extra-base hit in a game. He also scored at least three runs in a game for the first time this season and the four hits and the four runs were career highs.
"I had a good day and felt good hitting," Rosario said. "I was selecting good pitches to hit. I've been feeling good. I've felt the same as I did in Triple-A, but it's a different level. It's difficult here." More >
Nolasco gets big double play: Nolasco had a 6-3 lead going into the sixth before giving up leadoff singles to Adrian Beltre and Prince Fielder, putting runners on first and third. But Nolasco got Nomar Mazara to ground into a double play that allowed the run to score, but cut off the Rangers' rally.
"He got that double-play ball to minimize it to one run there in the sixth," Molitor said. "He did well. The last inning it was a little bit of a struggle, but it was a long night and we had a long half-inning before that. But he got through six."
Ill-timed pickoff: The Rangers had Shin-Soo Choo at third and Ian Desmond at first with one out in the first. But, on a 2-1 count, Nolasco picked off Desmond at first standing up. On the next pitch, Beltre flied to deep center field for the third out.
"I went through my normal sets, got my lead and he picked me off," Desmond said. "There is nothing else to say. It doesn't happen often and I can't remember the last time it did. But it was bad timing."
"Adversity is good for a team, especially if you have a little bit of a cushion. It only brings us closer in the clubhouse. It gives us experience and we can use it to our benefit." -- Desmond on the Rangers recent struggles
WHAT'S NEXT Twins: Left-hander Tommy Milone pitches for the Twins against the Rangers at 2:05 p.m. (CT) Sunday in the final game of the first half for both clubs. He earned his first win of the season in his last start, holding Oakland to one run in six innings.
Rangers: Right-hander A.J. Griffin finishes the first half for the Rangers with his 10th start of the season. He has a 3.38 ERA with no decisions in three starts since coming off the disabled list.