(Sports Network) - The Texas Rangers hope to continue their recent mastery of
the Minnesota Twins on Thursday when they head to Target Field for the start
of a four-game series.
Texas was 8-2 last season versus the Twins and there is no reason to believe
that trend won't continue this week, as the Rangers enter this series tied
with the Boston Red Sox for the best record in the American League at 14-7
with wins in five of their last six games.
On Wednesday, Nelson Cruz hit a three-run home run in a nine-run fourth
inning and Yu Darvish struck out 11 to help Texas get past the LA Angels of
Lance Berkman hit a two-run home run and drove in four while Ian Kinsler, A.J.
Pierzynski and David Murphy each drove in a run for the Rangers, while Darvish
(4-1) scattered just three hits over six scoreless innings to improve to 5-1
against the Angels in his career.
"Another tremendous performance, he had a combination of everything," said
Rangers manager Ron Washington. "We started getting base hits tonight and Cruz
got the big hit. We're playing good baseball."
Heading to the hill for the Rangers on Thursday will be right-handed rookie
Nick Tepesch, who had to leave his last start on Saturday against Seattle
after just 1 2/3 innings when a line drive struck him on the wrist. He had
retired five of the six batters he faced before the incident and is 1-1 with a
3.07 ERA on the year.
"I felt good, I felt strong, I felt comfortable. I felt my stuff was good that
night," Tepesch said. "Anytime you feel like that, you try to build on it and
take it into your next start."
Tepesch has since thrown a side session and declared himself ready to go.
Meanwhile, getting the call for the Twins on Thursday will be righty Vance
Worley, who is 0-2 with a 7.11 ERA, but is coming off his best effort of the
season. Worley did not get a decision against the Chicago White Sox on
Saturday, but was terrific, as he allowed just a run and five hits in seven
innings of his team's 2-1 win.
"I was able to command both sides of the plate today, and everything broke the
way I wanted it to," said Worley, who has never faced the Rangers. "Better
Minnesota split a doubleheader with the Miami Marlins on Tuesday and saw its
five-game winning streak stopped with an 8-5 loss in the nightcap.
Joe Mauer had two hits in the loss and is now hitting .366 on the year. Over
his last 11 games, Mauer is hitting .444 with two homers and eight RBI.
"I've seen him hit his whole career, so we've seen him do this," manager Ron
Gardenhire said. "We keep saying it's incredible to do this at this level, and
it is. He can just rack up those hits, and it's incredible, and that'll never
change. He's just an incredible hitter."
Texas has won nine of its last 11 against the Twins.
The Sports Network