The Twins ended a 2-8 road trip on a positive note, also getting six hits from the top two hitters in their lineup, Denard Span and Revere. But the real story was De Vries, who retired 15 of the last 16 batters he faced, with the lone runner reaching on a strikeout/passed ball. This against a Rangers lineup that had scored at least eight runs in six of their past 10 games.
And the bullpen, save for Jeff Gray's brief struggles, was money. Gray allowed home runs to Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz to turn a 6-2 game into 6-5 game while recording only one out in the sixth inning, but Casey Fien, Jared Burton and Glen Perkins retired 11 of 12 batters to close out the game.
"It was good," Fien said. "I struggled at the beginning. I couldn't find it. I came in after the sixth inning and threw some pitches in the batting cages. I was better after that."
It made for a better plane ride as 52-75 Twins get ready for another four-game series, this one at Target Field against the Mariners.
"It was super for us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We needed a starting performance and we got one from [De Vries]. Gray had a little bit of a tough time, then Casey, Burton and Perk had a great day against a good lineup. We got some big hits and got our top guys on in front of our big hitters. Our starting pitching gave us a chance."
De Vries gave up hits to the first three Rangers he faced, all singles, but he was able to work out of the inning by striking out Adrian Beltre and Cruz and getting David Murphy to ground out to second.
De Vries settled in after that, using his two-seam fastball to keep right-handed hitters off balance and his curveball and slider to frustrate the left-handed hitters. Beltre, maybe baseball's hottest hitter coming into Sunday, was 0-for-2 with a strikeout against the rookie.
"I was happy I was able to do that against a team that has such a powerful offense," De Vries said. "My game plan was to locate pitches and keep them off balance."
De Vries threw four pitches before rains hit Rangers Ballpark in the first inning, creating a rain delay of an hour and 26 minutes. He said he didn't do much to stay loose during the down time, throwing a few pitches and waiting at his locker. Gardenhire was impressed with how De Vries handled the delay, saying it's not easy to put a guy back out on the mound after that long.
"I liked the way he kept challenging hitters, attacking and making pitches," Gardenhire said. "Against that lineup over there, you have to be very careful. but if you get behind on them, they'll kill you. I thought he worked the count well, he got ahead in some counts, they fouled off a lot of pitches. He had them pulling balls over our dugout and that means by changing speeds and locating the ball."
The Twins played small ball with the Rangers to grab the lead in the third. Revere singled to start the third, used his speed to avoid getting tagged out in a rundown and Justin Morneau's sacrifice fly gave the Twins a 3-2 lead.
The top of the order kept coming. Span singled to start the fifth inning and Revere, who went 4-for-4, followed by reaching on a bunt single. Joe Mauer made it 4-2 Twins with a single to right field. Trevor Plouffe drove in a run with a two-out single to center for a 5-2 lead.
The Twins added a run in the top of the sixth when Span had a two-out bunt and scored on Revere's triple into the right-field corner for a 6-2 lead.
It proved to be enough offense, and sent the Twins back to the Twin Cities feeling much better.
"The morale was a little low," Revere said after losses in the first three games here. "It's good we finally got one."