MLB: Alex Kirilloff, Twins look to top Rangers again

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Minnesota Twins first baseman Alex Kirilloff grew tired of the questions.

Why wasn’t he hitting as well as he could? Should he go down to the minors to fine-tune his swing? Could he figure it out at the major league level?

Kirilloff took out his frustration, if only for a day, with a go-ahead homer in Friday’s series opener in Minneapolis. His solo blast lifted the Twins to a 3-2 win over the Texas Rangers.

The teams will reconvene Saturday afternoon in the second installment of a three-game series.

Kirilloff will look to stay hot. Despite a big series opener Thursday, he is hitting .206 with four homers and 13 RBIs in 44 games.

“You’re mentally just tired of always just trying to think about it,” Kirilloff said of his early-season slump. “It’s like the balance of not trying to overthink and figure out what’s going on, and trying not to press, and then also kind of being able to go back to what you do when you’re going well, and relaxing and simplifying things.”

The Twins have won three straight games after losing the previous seven in a row.

Meanwhile, the Rangers are looking to snap out of a cold streak. Texas has lost five games in a row and 11 of its past 13 contests.

Including Friday, the Rangers have scored two runs or fewer in four of their past five games.

Texas manager Bruce Bochy said his hitters needed to do more to support the pitching staff.

“You’re not going to win the game unless you get a hit with men on base,” Bochy said. “You can’t just rely on the long ball. We didn’t get it (Friday night). We had him on the ropes a couple times, and that was missing.

“It’s been this way since we started this struggle that we’re in right now. One-, two-, three-run area. I thought our pitching did a great job. These guys pitch out of some tough jams. Kept them at three, gave us a chance, but we just can’t get much going with men on base.”

Twins right-hander Chris Paddack (4-2, 4.47 ERA) will make his 10th start of the season. He has walked 10 batters and struck out 47 in 50 1/3 innings this season.

Paddack is coming off a tough-luck no-decision against the Cleveland Guardians in his last outing. He gave up two runs on three hits in eight innings but the Twins lost the game 5-2.

In two career starts against Texas, Paddack is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA. He has walked three and struck out eight in 10 innings.

On Saturday, Texas will counter with right-hander Michael Lorenzen (2-3, 3.61), who is set to make his eighth start of the season. He has walked 21 and struck out 33 in 42 1/3 innings.

Lorenzen has made four appearances, including one start, against Minnesota in his career. He is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in those games, and he has allowed three earned runs in 11 innings.

–Field Level Media

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