MLB: Streaking Twins, slumping Rangers heading in opposite directions

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The Minnesota Twins haven’t lost since holding a closed-door meeting last week.

They’ll try to make it five wins in a row when they host the Texas Rangers in the finale of their three-game series on Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis.

After the Twins lost their seventh straight game last Monday, 12-3 at the Washington Nationals, the players called a closed-door meeting in an effort to get to the bottom of their failures.

Minnesota went out the next day and clobbered Washington 10-0 before winning its next two games by matching 3-2 scores, including the series opener against the Rangers on Friday.

The Twins then trailed 3-2 with six outs to go on Saturday before Alex Kirilloff hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to lead them to a 5-3 win.

Kirilloff also hit the deciding home run in the victory on Friday.

“To put three runs up on the board that quick, it’s just super exciting,” Kirilloff said. “We know we have the personnel in the bullpen to close out the game.”

Minnesota plans to start right-hander Pablo Lopez (4-4, 4.72 ERA) in the series finale.

Lopez was the starting pitcher in the 12-3 loss to the Nationals on Monday, allowing seven runs and eight hits in five innings in his worst outing of the season.

“Externalizing gives you the sense of relief,” Lopez said after the team meeting. “When you say things out loud, when you hear things being said out loud, it puts things in perspective. So I think we said things that maybe we were thinking but weren’t saying out loud.”

Lopez is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two career starts against Texas.

He gave up a season-high 10 hits and five runs over five innings against the Rangers on Aug. 24, 2023. The offense saved him from a loss by scoring three runs in the eighth inning of a 7-5 come-from-behind win.

The Rangers haven’t produced that type of offense in a while, scoring three runs or less in seven of the past eight games.

The defending World Series champions have lost six in a row and 12 of 14.

“Sitting on two, three runs, you’re asking for trouble,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’ve got to get off the snide of getting two or three runs. We’re getting a lot of empty at-bats, and it doesn’t work, so we’ve got to get some guys going.”

Rangers catcher Jonah Heim went 0-for-4 on both Friday and Saturday and is hitless in his past 12 at-bats.

Marcus Semien also went 0-for-4 in the leadoff spot and saw his average dip to .258 after it had climbed to .286 earlier this month.

Other players for Texas have continued to hold up their end of the bargain.

Corey Seager homered in four straight games before going 1-for-4 with a run scored on Saturday, and Ezequiel Duran came in hitting .362 in May before blasting a deep home run Saturday to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead.

The Rangers will wait until Sunday to announce their starting pitcher for the series finale.

–Field Level Media

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