Twins get clutch hit to back Gibson and end losing streak
Ron Gardenhire wanted to try something to break up the Minnesota Twins’ scuffling offense and snap the road losing streak.
Minnesota’s manager gave 20-year-old Jorge Polanco his first major-league start at shortstop. Gardenhire even put Chris Parmelee and his eight-game hitting streak in the third spot in the batting order and playing center field; anything to shake the Twins out of a season-long, five-game losing streak.
Polanco had a RBI double, scored a run and made several strong plays in the field, Parmelee had another hit and Kendrys Morales doubled home pinch-runner Sam Fuld in the top of the ninth inning off of Texas Rangers closer Joakim Soria to beat Texas 3-2 on Sunday.
"You’re on a road trip and you haven’t won a game, you need to win one," Gardenhire said, later adding: "We scratched a couple of runs in there, a check swing over the base. The kid played great at short. Parms did alright in center and it all worked out for us today. A big hit there at the end by Morales, another one down that line which worked out for us, got a good ricochet. So a couple of breaks went our way today and you win a ballgame."
Kyle Gibson (7-6) tied a career-high with eight innings, giving up two runs on eight hits. Glen Perkins struck out the side in the ninth for his 20th save.
Minnesota was swept by the Angels in three games and lost the first two games of the series in Texas. The Twins return home for a seven-game homestand beginning Monday against the Kansas City Royals.
"It’s huge," said Joe Mauer, who added a two-out RBI and extended his hitting streak to 10 games. "Guys have been battling on this trip and it’s been tough on us. To come home this last day and get a win, it’s good."
With Gibson bouncing back from a loss in which he allowed seven runs earlier in the road trip, clutch hitting was the key Sunday.
Polanco doubled off the third base bag to tie the game at 1-1 in the third and Mauer drove home Polanco.
"He did great," Gardenhire said of Polanco. "He pretty much covered the field on plays that he had to make and made them all on really nice throws. It was a good performance and fun to see. A check swing (for the RBI) but he has good at-bats. He killed one to right center field that (Alex) Rios ran down. So he’s doing just fine. He’s got things to learn but he’s doing just fine."
With one out in the ninth, Minnesota finally got the big hits they’d sought the entire road trip. Josh Willingham singled. With Fuld pinch-running, Morales sent another ball right down the third base line, which ricocheted in foul territory far into left field allowing Fuld to score.
"Outside of at home we’re not playing very well, but it’s the same thing," Morales said through interpreter Bobby Cuellar. "We try hard. They’re playing hard and every game’s a fight and these guys are trying, every at-bat, every inning trying to do what they can."
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