Texas at Minnesota

Scoreboard
Texas (27-26) «000000100180
Minnesota (24-26)000000000061

Rangers 1, Twins 0

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- It had been nearly two months since Joe Saunders pitched in the majors and 10 days since his last rehab start in the minor leagues.

So it was understandable if he was a little shaky early in his return to the Texas Rangers rotation.

He spent most of the outing searching for his best stuff, but still managed to shut down the struggling Minnesota Twins offense.

Saunders pitched five scoreless innings and Luis Sardinas drove in the only run of the game to lift the Rangers to a 1-0 victory against the Twins on Wednesday night.

"It was a battle for the first time coming back in almost two months," Saunders said. "It was a struggle, but I made some good pitches, got some clutch strikeouts against some pretty good hitters and kept the team right where it needed to be."

Saunders gave up five hits and struck out six after being activated from the 15-day disabled list earlier in the day.

"I had to take a step back there in the first inning, relax and calm the nerves a little bit," Saunders said. "It's been a long time coming for me. It's the longest I've ever been out. It was a good start."

Sardinas had a two-out single off struggling Twins reliever Jared Burton (1-2) in the seventh inning to help propel the Rangers to their seventh victory in the past 10 games.

Kyle Gibson gave up six hits and struck out four in six scoreless innings, but the Twins left nine runners on base and went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position. Joe Mauer went 0 for 4.

Shawn Tolleson (1-1) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief for the win and Joakim Soria picked up his ninth save in 10 tries, one night after his error in the ninth inning led to his first blown save of the season.

Saunders had only made one other start this season, but he took a line drive from Evan Longoria off his left ankle in his season debut on April 4. Saunders made four rehab starts and had his breaking ball working in his return to the Rangers rotation on Wednesday night.

Saunders stranded seven baserunners, including getting Brian Dozier to fly out with the bases loaded in the second. With his pitch count at 97 after five innings, manager Ron Washington elected to go to the bullpen rather than push Saunders too hard in his first start back.

"He's a competitor and he had to compete tonight, especially early in the game when they could've done some damage," Washington said.

Gibson was just as sharp, allowing just one extra-base hit and breezing through six. But he didn't get any help from a slumping offense that has scored just 10 runs in the past six games.

Mauer had a chance in the seventh inning with the tying run on third base and two outs, but he chased a breaking ball for strike three and heard boos from a frustrated hometown fan base. Mauer is hitting .277 with 15 RBIs and six doubles on the season.

"I feel pretty good actually, which is even more frustrating," said Mauer, who has been dealing with a sore back for parts of the season. "I'm hitting a lot of balls hard and just not having much to show for it. So hopefully that turns here soon. just got to try to have some good at bats, keep having good at-bats and hopefully they start falling."

Elvis Andrus was ejected in the sixth inning after he muttered something to home plate umpire Pat Hoberg regarding a low strike called earlier in his at-bat. It was the second ejection of the season for Andrus and Washington moved Sardinas from second base to shortstop and put Rougned Odor at second base to fill the hole.

Notes

Twins CF Aaron Hicks was a late scratch with a back issue, forcing manager Ron Gardenhire to start SS Danny Santana in CF. ... While on a rehab assignment for a groin injury, Twins RHP Mike Pelfrey felt soreness in his shoulder and was brought to Minnesota for examination. Another stint on the disabled list is likely after the Twins diagnose the injury. ... Alex Rios extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the fourth. ... Gardenhire challenged a play in the seventh inning when Leonys Martin was ruled safe on a steal. Gardenhire claimed Dozier applied the tag, but the play was upheld after a 51-second review.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Minnesota

J. Willingham
AB 2
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 0
Texas

L. Martin
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
 

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Texas Rangers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Shin-Soo Choo, LF4000011 .292
Elvis Andrus, SS3000020 .256
   Rougned Odor, 2B1000000 .292
Mitch Moreland, 1B4010000 .272
Adrian Beltre, 3B4010000 .287
Alex Rios, DH4010012 .329
Michael Choice, RF4010001 .200
Leonys Martin, CF4120000 .276
Robinson Chirinos, C3010023 .222
Luis Sardinas, 2B-SS3011001 .280
Joe Saunders, P0000000 .000
   Shawn Tolleson, P0000000 .000
   Neal Cotts, P0000000 .000
   Jason Frasor, P0000000 .000
   Joakim Soria, P0000000 .000
Totals3418106  
Batting
2B - Leonys Martin (2, Gibson)
RBI - Luis Sardinas (2)
2-OUT RBI - Luis Sardinas (2)
SB - Alex Rios (10, 3rd base off Gibson/Suzuki), Leonys Martin (11, 2nd base off Burton/Suzuki)
CS - Luis Sardinas (1, 2nd base by Gibson/Suzuki)
Team LOB - 6
Texas Rangers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Joe Saunders 5500260 4.15
Shawn Tolleson (W,1-1) 1.2100100 3.00
Neal Cotts (H,6) 1000010 3.68
Jason Frasor (H,7) 0.1000100 2.12
Joakim Soria (S,9) 1000020 2.45
WP - Neal Cotts (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Saunders 97-63, Shawn Tolleson 25-15, Neal Cotts 10-6, Jason Frasor 9-3, Joakim Soria 10-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Saunders 5-4, Shawn Tolleson 3-1, Neal Cotts 1-1, Jason Frasor 1-0
Batters Faced - Joe Saunders 22, Shawn Tolleson 6, Neal Cotts 3, Jason Frasor 2, Joakim Soria 3
Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Brian Dozier, 2B4010004 .247
Joe Mauer, 1B4000012 .277
Trevor Plouffe, DH4010011 .244
Oswaldo Arcia, RF4010012 .200
Josh Willingham, LF2010200 .231
   Chris Parmelee, PR-LF0000000 .192
Kurt Suzuki, C3000114 .291
Eduardo Nunez, 3B4010021 .256
Eduardo Escobar, SS4010020 .336
Danny Santana, CF2000110 .324
Kyle Gibson, P0000000 .000
   Jared Burton, P0000000 .000
   Caleb Thielbar, P0000000 .000
   Matt Guerrier, P0000000 .000
Totals3106049  
Batting
2B - Brian Dozier (7, Saunders), Eduardo Nunez (1, Saunders)
SH - Danny Santana (1)
CS - Eduardo Nunez (1, 2nd base by Tolleson/Chirinos)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
E - Kurt Suzuki (3, Throwing)
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Kyle Gibson 6600040 4.18
Jared Burton (L,1-2) 0.2211010 6.43
Caleb Thielbar 1000010 4.24
Matt Guerrier 1.1000000 3.68
Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Gibson 107-65, Jared Burton 13-9, Caleb Thielbar 14-10, Matt Guerrier 9-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Gibson 8-5, Jared Burton 1-0, Caleb Thielbar 2-0, Matt Guerrier 3-1
Batters Faced - Kyle Gibson 23, Jared Burton 4, Caleb Thielbar 3, Matt Guerrier 4
Game Information
Attendance - 26472
Game Time - 3:12
Temperature - 79
Umpires - Home - Pat Hoberg, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Mike DiMuro, Third Base - Mike Estabrook