MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Nick Tepesch pitched six strong innings for his second win while Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz each drove in runs to lead the Texas Rangers to a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.
The first-place Rangers have won six of their last seven games.
Tepesch (2-1) allowed five hits in 6 2-3 innings. He shut the Twins out through six before Josh Willingham homered in the seventh inning to make it 2-1. The rookie right-hander had allowed only two baserunners up to that point and showed no lingering effects from taking a liner off his right forearm in his previous start last weekend against Seattle.
Minnesota starter Vance Worley (0-3) allowed two runs and six hits in five innings.
A night after scoring nine fourth-inning runs in L.A. against the Angels, the bleary-eyed Rangers landed in the Twin Cities at 6 a.m. on Thursday and didn’t look nearly as good against Worley.
They didn’t need to, thanks to Tepesch, who flew ahead to Minnesota the night before. He retired the first 12 batters he faced before Justin Morneau singled up the middle to lead off the fifth.
The Twins finally got to Tepesch in the seventh when Willingham drove a fastball 351 feet into the left-field seats. Chris Parmelee and Trevor Plouffe each followed with two-out singles to chase Tepesch. Robbie Ross relieved to get Ryan Doumit on a groundout to end the inning.
Tanner Scheppers induced Willingham into a based-loaded double play to cap a scoreless eighth, and Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his seventh save in as many chances.
Cruz, who has RBIs in five-straight games, drove in his club-leading 18th run of the season in the second on a single that scored Adrian Beltre from third. Andrus made it 2-0 in the fifth with a run-scoring double.
Notes: Tepesch has not walked a batter since walking three in the second inning of his debut on April 9. … Andrus has no errors in his last 80 chances, the longest streak of any shortstop in the A.L. … Worley hasn’t won a start since Aug. 1 of last season, when he played for Philadelphia. … Twins C Joe Mauer went hitless for only the fourth time this season.
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