After six scoreless innings, a single from Luis Sardinas in the seventh scored Leonys Martin, producing the game's only run and giving the Rangers a 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins and their tenth shutout of the year.
Martin got on first after legging out a bunt, and then stole second to put a runner in scoring position for Sardinas. A bloop single from the rookie was all Martin needed to use his speed to pick up the only run of the day and give the Rangers their fifth win of the road trip.
“It was a pitching duel going out there and we had to break through, and we did it in our style, a bunt base hit, stole the base, base hit” said Manager Ron Washington.
Starting pitcher Joe Saunders produced five shutout innings in his first start since being activated off the disabled list. After appearing mediocre in his one start this season, and not pitching much better in his rehab starts, Saunders performance today is something that can be labeled impressive. Five shutout innings from Saunders are not at all the same as five shutout innings from Yu Darvish, but at the end of the day, they both pitched five shutout innings.
“It was an all around battle tonight” said Saunders. “The bullpen was great, Robbie was great behind the plate, and defense was awesome. It was a good team win.”
Shawn Tolleson earned the win for the Rangers, while Joakim Soria recorded his ninth save of the year. After being charged with the ninth-inning loss in Tuesday night’s game, Soria came into Wednesday’s game and used his nasty curveball to quickly shut down the Twins offense.
“You just have to focus on this inning, and this game. What happened yesterday is in the past” said Soria. “It’s always important to show up the next day, and to have the save opportunity. I gave us a lot of relief and I thank God for that.”
Seven games into an 11-game road trip and the Rangers have only lost two games. With one game left in Minnesota before heading to Washington D.C. to face the Nationals, the Rangers will need to continue to capitalize on what has, so far, been a successful trip.
“We’re playing good baseball” said Washington. “We’ve just got to continue to get consistent and continue to get better.”
Nick Martinez takes the mound for the Rangers Thursday afternoon as they look to win the series against the Twins. Game time is slated for 12:10 p.m. CT.