TWINS (74-48) AT RANGERS (60-62)
8:05 p.m. ET; FSSW, FSNO, MLB.TV
All-Star right-hander Jose Berrios gets the start on Saturday night as the Minnesota Twins (-1.5) try to clinch a series victory over the Texas Rangers (-1.5) in Arlington, Texas.
Minnesota won the first two games of the four-game series, 13-6 on Thursday and a 4-3 nail-biter on Friday night. The latest result increased the Twins’ lead in the American League Central to 1 1/2 games over the Cleveland Indians (+2), who dropped a 3-2 decision to the New York Yankees (-2).
“No, we don’t talk about that,” Twins third baseman Miguel Sano said when asked if his team was doing any scoreboard watching. “We try and do our job and play every day and win.”
Berrios (10-6, 3.29 ERA) is 2-1 with a 5.63 ERA in three career starts against Texas. He lost his only start at Globe Life Park last season when he allowed five runs on three hits, all of them home runs, in four innings of a 7-4 loss.
Berrios is just 2-4 in his last 11 starts and received a no decision in his last start on Sunday against Cleveland when he allowed three runs on six hits over six innings in a 7-4 loss.
Right-hander Ariel Jurado (6-8, 5.31 ERA) will make his first career start against Minnesota and second career appearance. He pitched 2 1/3 innings of shutout relief against the Twins in a 4-1 victory on July 7 in Minneapolis.
Jurado comes in off a 19-4 loss at Toronto on Monday when he allowed season highs for hits (11) and runs (eight) in 3 2/3 innings.
He’ll be facing a Minnesota team that has hit five home runs in the first two games of the series and is on pace to shatter the single-season home run record of 267 set by the New York Yankees last season. The Twins have hit 238 with 40 games to go.
Twins second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who was hitting .211 with just two homers in 18 games since the All-Star break entering Friday night, socked a two-run homer in the seventh inning that put the Twins ahead to stay.
“It’s a good feeling,” said Schoop, who has a 13-game hitting streak against the Rangers that includes five home runs and 20 RBIs during that span. “To come back and win this game is a good feeling.”
Max Kepler also hit a two-run homer for the Twins, his team-leading 33rd of the season. The native of Berlin, Germany, also passed Bobby Thomson (Scotland) for most homers in a season by a European-born player.
“It’s unfortunate because the pitch to Kepler was a bad pitch,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “(Mike Minor) threw it right down the middle. The other one, I felt like it wasn’t a bad pitch. (Schoop) actually did a pretty good job of hitting it. That was a changeup that typically hasn’t gotten a whole lot of damage, especially home run-wise. (Minor) did get burned a couple times by homers. That’s it.”
Minnesota’s bullpen combined to shut out the Rangers for the final 3 1/3 innings. Sergio Romo stranded two runners in the ninth to pick up his 20th save.
“It was a very big win,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It was a good, tense, exciting game, and I think our guys are going to have a lot of satisfaction coming into the clubhouse after that win.”
–Field Level Media