ARLINGTON, Texas -- Yu Darvish pitched eight shutout innings, and the Rangers showed some solid offensive execution in a 5-0 victory over Minnesota on Saturday afternoon at Globe Life Park.
The Rangers (37-43) scratched for runs in the second and third innings and broke it open with three in the eighth.
A few observations.
Darvish dominates: Through two innings, Darvish had only one strikeout. But he picked up the pace and finished with 10 in eight innings of shutout work. It is the fifth time this season and the 25th time in his career he has reached 10 strikeouts in a game.
Darvish particularly seemed to have the Twins baffled with an off-speed pitch floating over the outside corner to left-handed hitters.
The Twins managed to get only two runners in scoring position. Two singles and a wild pitch put Twins at second and third with two out in the second inning of a scoreless game. Darvish escaped on Pedro Florimon’s fly ball to center.
Home cooking: Adrian Beltre added three more hits, giving him 11 for the homestand (11-for-16). He came into the game as the league’s best hitter at home with a .361 average. Beltre has multiple hits in 13 of his past 16 home games.
Beltre, running with two out, scored from first. Beltre might not have made it but for an errant relay throw from shortstop Florimon that came close to splitting the distance between home and first. Gimenez, who snapped an 0-for-11 streak, was credited with the RBI.
Fundamentals are fun: Aggressive baserunning by Rougned Odor and two well-positioned ground balls gave Texas a 2-0 lead in the third. After a leadoff single, Odor stole second, advanced to third on Shin-Soo Choo’s groundout and raced home on Elvis Andrus' tapper 40 feet from the plate.
Andrus started the game with a streak of 30 consecutive errorless games, spanning 119 chances. His most recent error occurred May 23 in Detroit. The shortstop actually had one chance Saturday that went unrecorded when he flawlessly gloved a green balloon that floated onto the infield grass.
Little things: The Rangers’ execution in a three-run eighth inning had to make manager Ron Washington smile. First, a successful hit-and-run play with Andrus grounding a single through a hole created by Choo breaking for second on the pitch. A couple of pitches later, Choo stayed in a rundown long enough on a fielder’s choice grounder to allow Andrus and Carlos Pena to reach scoring position. Pinch hitter Luis Sardinas dropped a suicide squeeze bunt to make 3-0, and Leonys Martin doubled in the final two runs.
Up next: The Rangers and Twins meet for the final time this season at 2:05 p.m. Sunday in a matchup of right-handers. Colby Lewis (5-5, 5.94 ERA) will be opposed by the Twins’ Kyle Gibson (6-6, 3.92) on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.