ARLINGTON, Texas — Carlos Correa and Max Kepler had RBI singles in the 10th inning, while Minnesota leadoff hitter Donovan Solano matched a career high with four hits and had a standout defensive play a day after he was too sick to play as the AL Central-leading Twins beat the still-sliding Texas Rangers 9-7 on Saturday night.
“As sick as a dog yesterday … he came in today, said he was feeling better,” manager Rocco Baldelli said of the 35-year-old Solano. “Definitely not 100%, but was definitely improved and shows up ready to play.”
Solano, who had cold-like symptoms Friday, had a solo homer and a two-run single when the Twins, after being behind 4-0, went ahead 6-4. He was playing second base in the eighth inning when he had a tremendous running catch in short right with his back to the infield, preventing another run right after Texas had tied the game.
Correa and Kepler got their hits off hard-throwing reliever Aroldis Chapman (5-4), who got the last two outs of the ninth before coming back out for the extra inning. Ryan Jeffers added a sacrifice fly, his second RBI of the game, after Chapman was gone.
“Our offense was unrelenting. … Solano led the way, but we had a lot of guys do some great things,” Baldelli said. “When you play in a super tight ballgame and you lose the lead late, there’s some teams that would let that get them down and wouldn’t be able to recover. We recovered and then some. We just need to keep finding a way.”
The Twins (71-65) maintained their five-game division lead since Cleveland beat Tampa Bay.
Adolis Garcia and Sam Huff hit early two-run homers for the Rangers (75-60), who lost for the 12th time in 15 games overall, including their last six at home. That stretch dropped them out of the AL West lead, now a season-high two games out of first place behind Seattle, and still a game behind Houston after the Astros also lost at home. Texas is just ahead of Toronto for the American League’s final wildcard spot.
Brent Headrick (3-0), the eighth Twins pitcher, tossed a perfect ninth. Jhoan Duran finished it for his 24th save in 29 chances, working around an RBI single by Robbie Grossman in the 10th.
Solano’s third hit was his two-out single to left in the fourth that capped a five-run outburst and chased Rangers trade deadline acquisition Jordan Montgomery, who had been 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA in the lefty’s first five starts since coming over from the St. Louis Cardinals on July 30.
“He’s been throwing so well … things unraveled there,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. “Hey, it happens. The pen actually did a good job today to give us a chance to come back.”
Each of the last five batters in Minnesota’s lineup reached with two outs in that fourth inning, with No. 9 hitter Michael A. Taylor’s two-run double turning the order over to Solano after he had homered the previous inning.
The Rangers got even at 6 in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Grossman after Emilo Pagan, the seventh Minnesota pitcher, walked the first three batters he faced to load the bases.
The Rangers scored five runs in 3 1/3 innings off Dallas Keuchel, the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner making his fourth start (fifth appearance) this season for Minnesota. That included five scoreless innings against the Rangers last Sunday. … The Twins used 13 position players and nine pitchers in the game. Texas had 20 players get in the game, including seven pitchers.
Garcia, hitting .145 over his previous 16 games, hit his 33rd homer in the first. That two-run shot sent home Marcus Semien with his 100th run of the season and pushed Garcia’s AL-leading RBI total to 99. … Huff, recalled Friday as part of September roster expansion, pulled a 430-foot homer down the line in left in the second.
Twins: CF Taylor left the game with right hamstring tightness. He was replaced in the field in the fourth, after his double in the top of the inning.
Rangers: The team will monitor RHP Max Scherzer and see how he feels after his next bullpen. The three-time Cy Young Award winner departed after 88 pitches over six scoreless innings Friday night. “It’s more of a fatigue thing,” Bochy said. “Right now, the plan is for him to make his (next) start, but we’ll be smart about it.”
Rangers right-hander Jon Gray (8-7, 3.79 ERA) is scheduled to make his 200th career start Sunday. RHP Kenta Maeda (3-7, 4.69) pitches for Minnesota.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb