ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – The Texas Rangers haven’t been this far under .500 at the halfway point since Ron Washington was a rookie manager in 2007.
Washington says he’s just going to keep teaching and leading. There were a couple of teaching moments in the latest loss Sunday.
Minnesota’s Kendrys Morales had a tiebreaking double in the ninth inning after young Texas hitters failed in a couple of run-producing situations earlier in the game, and the Twins snapped a 10-game road losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Rangers.
“We’re teaching,” said Washington, whose injury-riddled club is 37-44 and 14 games behind Oakland in the AL West after four straight years as playoff contenders that included two trips to the World Series. “I think my job is just to continue to lead. That’s all I know how to do.”
The Rangers had runners at first and third with nobody out in the second and again with one out in the seventh but didn’t score either time with the onus on rookies Michael Choice and Rougned Odor.
Choice struck out ahead of Odor’s double-play grounder in the second, and Choice grounded into a double play to end the seventh.
“The situation is paramount,” Washington said. “That’s the biggest thing they should learn. Sometimes that heart goes to racing and you try to get things done too fast.”
Morales slapped a line drive away from the Texas shift off closer Joakim Soria, landing it just inside the foul line in left field where the only person close to it was a security guard scrambling to get out of the way.
After the security guard dodged the ball with his right foot, the carom off a brick wall just missed his left foot as the ball rolled into shallow left field, a long way from Choice.
A ground-rule double would have forced pinch-runner Sam Fuld to stop at third instead of scoring easily, and Soria (1-3) struck out the final two hitters of the inning.
It was the second rough outing of the three-game series for Soria. He gave up four runs in the ninth inning of Texas’ 5-4 victory on Friday.
“We got a couple of breaks, and we won the ballgame,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Kyle Gibson (7-6) matched a career high by going eight innings and scattering eight hits. Glen Perkins struck out the side in the ninth for his 20th save in 23 chances.
Robinson Chirinos had three hits for Texas, including his seventh homer of the season in the fifth inning for a 2-2 tie.
Josh Willingham’s second hit got the winning rally started with one out in the ninth before he was replaced by Fuld. The Twins had lost the first five games on a six-game road trip after winning four straight on a brief homestand.
Jorge Polanco, making his first major league start for Minnesota, had a tying double on a check-swing roller over the bag at third base in the third inning. The 20-year-old shortstop scored for a 2-1 lead on a single by Joe Mauer, who extended his hitting streak to a season-high 10 games.
Texas right-hander Colby Lewis ended a streak of 13 straight starts without a quality start of at least six innings and three earned runs or fewer, which was tied for the major league record with Seattle’s Steve Trout from 1988. He gave up two runs in six innings and struck out eight.
The Rangers are missing three left-handed starters in their rotation, and Derek Holland is the only one who has a chance to return this season.
Texas is on its fourth first baseman in Carlos Pena, who came up a week after signing a minor league deal with Prince Fielder (neck) and Mitch Moreland (ankle) out for the year and Kevin Kouzmanoff sidelined by back surgery.
“We’re just in a situation right now where we’ve got guys hurt and we’re going to go out there and compete,” Lewis said. “That’s all Wash asks us to do.”
NOTES: The Rangers won a home series for the first time since mid-April. They had gone winless in 10 straight series at home. … After the game, the Rangers sent rookie INF Luis Sardinas to Triple-A Round Rock and recalled INF Adam Rosales. A corresponding 40-man roster move will be made Monday.
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