MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Aaron Hicks had four of Minnesota’s 17 hits, Miguel Sano homered twice and Mike Pelfrey picked up his first win since June as the Twins routed the Texas Rangers 11-1 on Wednesday night.
Sano’s second home run drove in three in the fourth inning and reached the upper deck down the left field line. It gave the Twins a 7-0 lead.
Hicks got the Twins going with a leadoff homer in the first. He jumped on a 2-0 fastball from Nick Martinez (7-7) and drove it 432 feet off the facing of the upper deck in right-center for his seventh homer of the season.
Minnesota extended its lead to 4-0 in the fourth with a rally Hicks ignited with a leadoff single. Brian Dozier followed with a double, and after Joe Mauer’s run-scoring groundout, Sano topped Hicks’ blast with a 437-foot home run to the second deck in left-center.
Pelfrey (6-7) had gone 0-5 with 6.22 ERA in his last 10 starts, but he was sharp on Wednesday, scattering four hits and one walk while striking out four in seven innings.
The Rangers bunched three hits for a run in the sixth, but Twins left fielder Eddie Rosario threw out Shin-Soo Choo at the plate to end the threat.
Rangers: Josh Hamilton was scratched from the lineup about an hour before the game with a sore left knee, after taking batting practice and experiencing discomfort. Ryan Strausborger replaced Hamilton in LF and was inserted in the ninth spot, with Elvis Andrus, Rougned Odor and Bobby Wilson each moving up one position.
Twins: LHP Tommy Milone (strained left elbow) will throw in the bullpen Thursday and if all goes well will be activated from the DL when he’s eligible Monday. But there’s an opening for a starter Saturday against Cleveland. Kyle Gibson has volunteered to pitch on three days’ rest, which Molitor said he didn’t want to do. Someone could be called up from Triple-A Rochester instead.
Rangers: Rookie RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez was picked to start Thursday and fill the spot of Cole Hamels (sore left groin) in the rotation. Gonzalez, who posted a 2-4 record and a 3.74 ERA over seven starts prior to the All-Star break, will be recalled from Triple-A Round Rock. Someone on the staff will have to be sent down, but manager Jeff Banister declined to speculate about the options.
Twins: RHP Ervin Santana (2-3, 5.40 ERA) will take the mound for the series finale, looking to break a three-start losing streak. After winning his first two decisions with the Twins he’s fallen on hard times, posting an 0-3 record and 10.49 ERA in 14 innings pitched. In his last outing, Santana gave up eight earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings at Cleveland. That was his shortest start since July 21, 2012, when he lasted 1 2/3 innings for the Angels against Texas.
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