Twins double their way back to beat Rangers

Published 3:22 am Wednesday, August 12, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins have endured plenty of setbacks this season, displaying enough recent deficiencies to be pushed behind in the American League wild-card race after controlling a spot for three months.

Resiliency is not a problem.

Eduardo Escobar’s two-out double in the ninth inning drove in the winning run, capping a late rally by the Twins for a timely 3-2 victory Tuesday night over the Texas Rangers.

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“That’s kind of how we’ve been all year,” said Kyle Gibson, whose strong start kept the Twins in striking position. “We lost it there for a little bit here in the second half, but we’re looking to get it back and definitely going to finish strong here in the next couple months.”

Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano tied the game with RBI doubles in the eighth, and Glen Perkins (1-3) pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up the win, just the seventh for the Twins in 23 games since the All-Star break.

“We talked about fighting, we talked about battling and we talked about not giving up,” Perkins said, “and we sure did that tonight.”

Spencer Patton (1-1) got the first two outs in the ninth. But he walked Kurt Suzuki before reaching the bottom of the order with Escobar, who bounced a full-count fastball down the right-field line. Suzuki scored easily, and the Twins piled on Escobar in celebration.

This came right after the Twins returned from a brutal road trip to Toronto and Cleveland when they went 1-6 and were outscored 60-27, pushing them into sixth place in the chase for two AL wild cards and prompting a players-only meeting in the clubhouse before batting practice.

“I wouldn’t say desperate, but,” manager Paul Molitor said, before transitioning to another topic.

Jake Diekman, acquired last month by the Rangers in the same trade with Philadelphia that fetched ace Cole Hamels, ominously walked Escobar to start the eighth inning.

“Walks at this level, late in the game, early in the game, middle of the game, they come back to get you,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.

Brian Dozier nearly tied the game twice, one drive that hooked a few feet foul and another that center fielder Delino DeShields snagged at the wall with a slick sprinting catch. Mauer and Sano came through against Diekman instead.

“You can’t really fall behind hitters that much. And, yeah, when your fastball is flat it’s pretty easy to hit no matter what,” Diekman said.

Elvis Andrus hit a two-run homer in the second inning, and Yovani Gallardo and the first two Rangers relievers nearly made that stand up.