Minor perfect into seventh, Rangers beat Padres 5-2

Texas Rangers' Joey Gallo slides safely into third base after a single by Shin-Soo Choo against the San Diego Padres during the fourth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 27, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Mike Minor wasn’t so broken up about losing his perfect game bid in the seventh inning. He would’ve liked a shot at a complete-game shutout, though.

Minor took a perfect game into the seventh inning, Shin-Soo Choo reached base for the 40th straight game and the Texas Rangers beat the San Diego Padres 5-2 on Wednesday night.

Minor was perfect until Eric Hosmer’s single up the middle with one out in the seventh. One out later, center fielder Delino DeShields preserved Minor’s shutout by leaping to rob Hunter Renfroe of a home run.

Minor struck out five and threw only 85 pitches through seven innings, yet manager Jeff Banister decided to go to the bullpen after that. That drew a pointed response from Minor: ”Why?”

”I don’t have a complete game shutout in my career, so I still had some goals,” Minor said. ”With the pitch count being low, I feel I could have still went out there and possibly finished the game.”

”He grinded hard,” Banister said. ”I told him if there were only zeroes on the board, it would have been yours all the way.”

Minor (6-4), making his 125th career start since August 2010, said the thought of a perfect game got stronger each inning.

”Just try to make pitches,” he said. ”It was still a close ballgame.”

Minor benefited from two other strong defensive plays.

In the fifth inning, Jose Pirela hit a sharp grounder into the hole on the left side of the infield with two outs. Shortstop Elvis Andrus‘ long throw barely beat Pirela. Austin Hedges then hit a 105-mph liner to third baseman Adrian Beltre for the second out of the sixth inning.

”I thought, honestly, we had some hittable pitches early and missed them,” Padres manager Andy Green said. ”He wasn’t pitching the type of game that lent itself to what he was getting results-wise.”

Texas has won nine of its last 11 games while San Diego has lost nine of its last 11.

The Padres scored twice in the eighth inning but left the bases loaded. Keone Kela pitched a perfect ninth for his 20th save, the most in the majors this season without a blown save and a club record to begin a season.

Clayton Richard (7-7) hit three batters and allowed four runs and a season-high 10 hits over seven innings. He sought his career-best fifth consecutive winning start.

Minor signed with Texas as a free agent last December. He returned to the majors in 2017 after having shoulder surgery in 2015. He made 65 relief appearances for the Kansas City Royals last year.

NEAR-PERFECT PARTNER

As Minor pursued perfection, he was pitching to rookie Isiah Kiner-Falefa, an infielder making only his third big league start as a catcher.

”Izzy back there did a great job first time catching me,” Minor said. ”I didn’t really know what to expect.”

CHOO STILL STREAKING

Choo tied Philadelphia’s Odubel Herrera for the longest on-base streak in the majors this season. Choo was hit by a pitch leading off the first inning and also had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. His on-base streak is the fourth longest in Rangers history.

SHORT HOPS

Beltre’s third-inning RBI double was No. 624 of his career, tying him with Hank Aaron for 12th on the career list. … The first-pitch temperature of 101 degrees made it the hottest game played in the majors this season. … The Padres used their 77th different lineup this season, second most in the majors, playing their 83rd game.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Texas RF Nomar Mazara (tight left hamstring) was held out of the lineup for the first time since June 16.

UP NEXT

Padres: Rookie LHP Eric Lauer (3-4, 5.05) will open the weekend series vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday.

Rangers: RHP Yovani Gallardo (1-0, 12.08) will make his third start for Texas on Friday at home against the Chicago White Sox.

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