MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Mitch Moreland drove in four runs on a career-high four hits, including a two-run homer to help the Texas Rangers avoid a sweep at Minnesota and rally past the Twins for a 6-5 victory Thursday.
Elvis Andrus hit the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth inning against Casey Fien (2-5) after Adrian Beltre and Moreland started the frame with singles.
Twins starter Ervin Santana squandered a 4-0 lead, thanks to the towering two-run shot by Moreland in the fourth and a two-run, go-ahead double by the first baseman in the fifth. Prince Fielder’s RBI single came right before that.
Chi Chi Gonzalez returned to the Rangers’ rotation after some time in Triple-A, with mixed results. He gave up five hits, five runs and five walks in 5 2-3 innings, but he struck out four and settled in after the four-run second.
Miguel Sano, who homered twice and drove in six runs Wednesday, ended that big inning with the bases loaded by popping out to shallow right field.
Trevor Plouffe’s home run and RBI doubles by Chris Herrmann and Shane Robinson got the Twins going that inning. A slick wide slide around catcher Chris Gimenez’s tag by Eddie Rosario while teammate Eduardo Escobar was caught in a rundown gave the Twins another run.
Keone Kela (6-5) got four outs for the victory after relieving Gonzalez. Shawn Tolleson pitched a perfect ninth for his 21st save in 22 tries.
Nick Martinez, who gave up a career-high 11 hits and seven runs in 3 2-3 innings in the 11-1 loss by the Rangers on Wednesday, was sent back to Triple-A to make room on the roster for Gonzalez, who was the team’s first-round draft pick in 2013 and made seven starts earlier this season.
Gonzalez was filling in for Cole Hamels, whose scheduled start Thursday was skipped because of a sore left groin muscle. Hamels is expected to take the mound again Monday.
Rangers: LF Josh Hamilton was out again with a sore left knee, and he’ll have an MRI on Friday. This has been a frustrating season for Hamilton and his health. “He’s worked to get himself in shape, but he’s had some nagging deals,” GM Jon Daniels said.
Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (1-2, 5.81 ERA) will take his sixth turn of the season Friday, when the Rangers start a three-game series at home against Tampa Bay. RHP Nathan Karns (7-5, 3.52 ERA) will take the mound for the Rays.
(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)