Byron Buxton scores winning run in MLB debut as Twins beat Rangers
Byron Buxton sat in the dugout about an hour before making his major league debut and identified speed as his greatest baseball attribute.
He quickly got to show it off, too.
Despite going 0 for 4, Buxton streaked home with the go-ahead run in the ninth inning and the Minnesota Twins beat the Texas Rangers 4-3 Sunday and ended a five-game losing streak.
''It's a day I'll cherish forever,'' Buxton said, ''especially making my debut and getting the winning run across.''
Regarded by many as the top prospect in baseball, the 21-year-old Buxton joined the Twins from Double-A. He batted ninth and played center, filling out a depleted Minnesota outfield.
Eduardo Escobar opened the Twins ninth with a double. Buxton, picked No. 2 in the 2012 draft, tried to sacrifice but bunted back to Shawn Tolleson (1-1), who threw out Escobar at third base.
Buxton said he hadn't sacrificed in a while - his last one came in 2013 in the Class A Midwest League.
With two outs, Eddie Rosario doubled to center and Buxton scored without a play.
Twins manager Paul Molitor said the threat of Buxton stealing second -- he had 20 in 59 games this season for Double-A Chattanooga -- could have contributed to Rosario's success against Tolleson.
''Sometimes, that can lead to a mistake,'' Molitor said.
Buxton had scored a Southern League-high 44 runs when he was called up this weekend.
''He's got a beautiful stride. He runs like not too many people we've seen in this game,'' Molitor said.
The Twins were missing outfielders Torii Hunter, who was serving his suspension for a uniform-tossing tirade, and injured Aaron Hicks.
Casey Fien (2-2) pitched two scoreless innings and Glen Perkins pitched a perfect ninth for his American League-leading 22nd save as the Twins snapped a five-game losing streak.
Tolleson had been 8 for 8 in save situations since becoming the Rangers' closer in mid-May.
''I wasn't really putting myself in a good position there,'' he said.
The Twins' Brian Dozier opened the game with a home run, his 10th career leadoff shot and third this season.
Dozier also doubled to increase his league-leading total of extra-base hits to 36. Nine of Minnesota's 11 hits were for extra bases.
Joey Gallo and Leonys Martin homered for Texas in the second inning off Phil Hughes.
The Twins matched a club record by hitting four triples, previously done in 1964. Three of them came in the sixth inning, yet they scored only one run in the inning -- in part because Shane Robinson was picked off third base when Escobar missed a squeeze sign. According to information provided to the Rangers by the Elias Sports Bureau, that's the only time in the past 50 years that a team hit three triples in an inning and scored fewer than two runs.
BAD NEWS, GOOD NEWS
Hughes gave up three runs in six innings, allowing multiple home runs for the fifth time in 13 starts. But both were solo homers.
''If you're going to give them up, at least have nobody on,'' Hughes said. ''It comes down to the fact that I haven't my stuff all year.''
Twins: Buxton was added to the roster after Hicks (right forearm strain) was put on the disabled list Sunday.
Rangers: 3B Adrian Beltre (left thumb sprain) is eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday, but said he still can't grip a bat.