— Sports

Maeda pitches Twins past Rangers 6-5 in series opener

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Kenta Maeda steered himself back on track by keeping the Texas Rangers scoreless into the sixth inning. The Minnesota Twins won the opener of a four-game series 6-5 on Monday night. Maeda (2-2) had a season-high eight strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings, allowing only two singles and two walks in what was by far the best of his six starts this season.

Jorge Polanco had an RBI triple and an RBI double, and rookie Alex Kirilloff kept up his torrid start with two images for the Twins. One of them was a two-out, run-scoring line drive to left field in a three-run sixth that came against the left-handed reliever, Kolby Allard, brought in to face him. Adolis García hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning for the Rangers against Brandon Waddell, who was called up from Triple-A before the game. Still, Tyler Duffey escaped with a 5-3 lead intact after allowing his inherited runner to score. Joey Gallo hit a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth against Taylor Rogers, who got his second save by striking out García.

Maybe the biggest mystery of Minnesota’s rough first month was the struggle by Maeda, who finished second in AL Cy Young Award voting last year. The Twins weren’t publicly worried, though, just hoping he’d make some adjustments to his off-speed pitches. The right-hander obliged, lowering his ERA from 6.56 to 5.34, leading the Twins to their fourth victory in five games.

Dane Dunning (1-2) was better than his last two starts for the Rangers, done in by a bit of bad luck and plain old hustle by the Twins while allowing two earned runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Kirilloff used a headfirst slide for his first double in the second inning, went to third on a flyout by Polanco, and came around to score on Gallo’s errant throw from right field.

Luis Arraez scored on Josh Donaldson’s two-out double in the third when he awkwardly collided with airborne catcher Jose Trevino’s legs and leaped up to touch the plate. The players were tangled, but Trevino’s glove hand never grazed Arraez, later removed with concussion symptoms.

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