Beltre and Robinson Chirinos homered to help Yovani Gallardo win for the first time since last July as the Texas Rangers beat the Minnesota Twins 9-6 on Saturday.
The home run wasn’t anything unusual — he’s got 466 of those his 21-year major league career. But he led off the second inning by beating out a ground ball to shortstop, no easy feat for a 39-year-old who has spent almost a month on the disabled list this year with a strained left hamstring.
The infield single led to a six-run rally to help the Rangers overcome an early 2-0 deficit.
”Speed kills – don’t you know that?” a grinning Beltre said. ”Over the last week or so, we’ve been able to find out how to get guys on, and now we’re getting more consistent in bringing those guys in.”
Eddie Rosario homered and drove in four runs for the Twins, while Logan Morrison also homered and Mitch Garver had three hits. Minnesota lost its third straight when it couldn’t overcome a short start from veteran Jake Odorizzi (3-5).
The Twins did rally for three runs in the ninth and had the tying run at the plate with two outs. But Rangers closer Keone Kela struck out Morrison with the bases loaded to end the game, earning his 18th save in 18 chances.
Gallardo (1-0) was making his second start for Texas after opening the year with Cincinnati. He promptly fell behind 2-0 just five pitches into the game before turning it around and pitching into the sixth inning.
Joe Mauer led off the bottom of the first with a sharp single to left. Then Rosario hit the first pitch he saw into the right-field seats for his 17th home run of the season.
But Gallardo settled down, at one point retiring 12 of 13. Morrison’s two-run homer with one out in the sixth inning ended Gallardo’s day, but he earned his first victory since July 29, 2017, when he was pitching for Seattle.
Odorizzi retired the side in order in the first inning, but the Rangers knocked him out in a six-run second. The big blows were two-run singles by Delino DeShields and Nomar Mazara.
Beltre’s second hit of the inning finally spelled the end for Odorizzi, who lasted just 1 2/3 innings. It was the shortest start of his career, other than a one-inning start in 2017 that he was forced to leave due to an injury.
”It just started to unravel,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. ”A couple guys got on, then he slipped on the mound, then he hit a guy Lorenzo Alexander Jersey , and even later in the inning after he’d given up some, we still had chances. He got ahead of Mazara 0-2, Beltre he got ahead of, but we just couldn’t finish.”
Odorizzi, the Twins’ opening day starter, has seen his ERA climb steadily in his last six outings. He’s allowed 25 earned runs in 25 2/3 innings over that stretch, driving his ERA to a season-high 4.97.
”It’s upsetting and frustrating . It’s not something I take lightly.” Odorizzi said. ”I take a lot of pride in getting guys out. Trust me, I’m more frustrated about this than anybody in this clubhouse. This has been one of the tougher stretches in my short big league career.”
HIT BATTER BEEF
Rangers 3B Jurickson Profar was hit by pitches three times on Saturday, tying a team record that he also matched just two weeks ago. But the Rangers were not happy with the circumstances surrounding the third time it happened.
Profar stole second base in the fourth inning when the Rangers were leading 9-2. The next time Profar came to bat, Twins reliever Addison Reed threw three inside fastballs, finally hitting him in the leg with the third one.
”I thought the intent there was excessive, especially they tried to dial him up three different times,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. ”The guy’s playing baseball hard. I guess you can just look at it that there’s a difference in what they’re focusing in on and what we’re focusing in on.”
Molitor didn’t try to rationalize Reed’s approach to Profar, but he also didn’t deny that the dugout took notice when Profar stole a base with a seven-run lead.
”The thought process between the unwritten rules of the game is not clearly defined,” Molitor said. ”What I might think and what he might think might be different things. I was surprised that (Profar) ran with the score the way it was, when he did. And getting hit there was something that Banister felt wasn’t appropriate.”
ROMERO TO ROCHESTER
After the game the Twins optioned rookie RHP Fernando Romero to Triple-A Rochester Michael Irvin Jersey , with a corresponding move to be announced on Sunday. Romero, who made his major league debut on May 2 and won his first two starts, is 3-3 with a 4.38 ERA in 10 starts.
Rangers: 1B Joey Gallo left the game in the third inning with left hamstring tightness. He was replaced by Ronald Guzman.
Twins: 3B Eduardo Escobar returned to the starting lineup for the first time since he was hit by a pitch on the right elbow in the first inning of Thursday’s game against Boston.
Rangers: RHP Bartolo Colon (4-4, 4.91 ERA) returns to Target Field to face his former teammates in the series finale Sunday afternoon. Colon went 5-6 in 15 starts for the Twins last season as he helped them clinch the second AL wild card spot.
Twins: RHP Jose Berrios (7-5, 3.51) will be looking for his first victory since June 7 as Minnesota tries to avoid being swept. In his last two starts he’s allo The retirement of Joe Thomas left a gaping hole at left tackle for the Cleveland Browns.
Left guard Joel Bitonio is willing, but not necessarily eager to succeed his close friend at the position.
”If they want me to do that, like, cool, whatever makes the Browns better,” Bitonio said. ”But I think left tackle is the toughest spot on the line, and after playing left guard for four years, going on five now, it would definitely be different.
”I don’t think it’s a thing where I have to volunteer for the spot, but if we get down the line and something needs to happen, we’ll see what happens there.”
Though Bitonio isn’t a household name outside of Cleveland, he is one of a handful of known quantities on a team that went winless in 2017 and is 1-31 in two seasons under coach Hue Jackson.
The 6-foot-4 Kony Ealy Jersey , 305-pounder was a second alternate for the Pro Bowl and did not miss a play last year, helping the Browns average 4.46 yards per rush to rank sixth in the NFL.
Offensive line coach Bob Wylie acknowledged that bumping Bitonio, an All-Mountain West left tackle at Nevada, to the outside is tempting, but not palatable because it would simultaneously create a weakness at guard.
”The state of the left tackle is our state of the union,” Wylie said. ”But (moving Bitonio) is the last option. If you were going to go from A down, that would be Z. That would be Z.”
Thomas was the face of the franchise for 11 seasons, earning 10 Pro Bowl selections and playing 10,363 consecutive snaps before suffering a career-ending torn left triceps last Oct. 22 against Tennessee.
Third-year pro Shon Coleman has the first shot to fill his shoes, while second-rounder Austin Corbett and former No. 2 overall pick Greg Robinson are in the mix. Coleman was pulled off the field Sunday during practice and received an audible scolding by Jackson.
Center JC Tretter, right guard Kevin Zeitler and Bitonio each expressed hope that one of the top three candidates can win the job and keep their three-man interior unit intact.
”I’m excited to work with them again and, hopefully, be a dominant inside group,” said Bitonio, a second-round selection by Cleveland in 2014. ”I’ve become really good friends with JC and Kevin, so we’re kind of bonding and I think the sky is the limit. We’re continuing to grow together.”
Tretter said the uncertainty at left tackle hasn’t affected Bitonio during training camp DJ Chark Jersey , nor does he expect it to, because he is a ”real pro.”
Jackson wants to make a decision before the Browns’ third preseason game on Aug. 23 against the Eagles, putting Coleman on the hot seat to produce or force the staff to contemplate option Z.
”I know that Joel will do anything for the football team, but hopefully we do not have to go to that,” Jackson said. ”But if we do, we do. Once we get a feel for what we have there, then as a group we’ve got to make a decision on how to continue to move forward.”
Bitonio is hoping for the best, and hoping to stay where he feels most comfortable. All 47 of his NFL games have been played as a starting left guard.
”Right now, I’m really focused on playing left guard and trying to get whoever is playing next to me ready to play left tackle,” he said. ”I think anything else is something that’s pretty far down the line.”
Rookie QB Baker Mayfield impressed Jackson with several sharp passes. ”Baker is deadly accurate with the ball,” the coach said. ”He’s an outstanding listener who has been everything a quarterback can be for an organization so far.” . DE Myles Garrett, the top overall pick in 2017, and RB Duke Johnson were given the day off, along with LB Jamie Collins. WR Corey Coleman also was scheduled to rest, but declined the offer. . Former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel attended the late afternoon practice.