MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The surging Texas Rangers passed their latest test in resiliency, reaching the midpoint of their season on a resounding note.
Ian Desmond homered to lead off the 10th inning for Texas, and the Rangers held on for a 3-2 victory Friday night over the Minnesota Twins.
"There's nothing wrong with a little adversity, especially to kind of see what we're made of," said Desmond, who leads the majors this season with five go-ahead home runs in the seventh inning or later.
After losing back-to-back games to the Yankees in New York on the last at-bat, including a six-run rally Wednesday against relievers Matt Bush and Sam Dyson, the league-leading Rangers improved to 18-6 in one-run decisions this year.
"Sometimes they're gifts. They show us what are flaws are," manager Jeff Banister said.
Dyson surrendered a leadoff single in the 10th, but he struck out the next two batters and notched his 17th save in 19 attempts. Bush (3-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the win, which lifted the Rangers to a club-record 52-29 at the 81-game mark.
"It's a good number. It's a much better number than being the other way around," Banister said. "We're not going to toast to halfway."
Flip their record, and it's still three games better than the Twins (25-54).
Trevor Plouffe tied the game for the Twins with a two-run home run in the seventh that spoiled Martin Perez's shutout bid, but Desmond took Fernando Abad (1-3) deep to start the extra session. Abad has taken the loss in three of his last four appearances.
"Obviously that fastball wasn't where he wanted it," Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Ervin Santana turned in his third straight sturdy start for the Twins, though he needed 117 pitches to log 6 1/3 innings. Two of his three walks came in the seventh, when pinch-hitter Jurickson Profar put the Rangers in front with a two-run single off reliever Ryan Pressly. Santana struck out five and allowed only three hits.
Perez retired the first 10 batters he faced and finished the fourth, fifth and sixth innings with double plays.
In the fifth, after Max Kepler sacrificed to move the runners up to second and third, Kurt Suzuki tried to bunt, too. Plouffe broke for home with the pitch, but the ball popped high enough in the air for first baseman Mitch Moreland to catch it and throw across the diamond for an easy out. Just the type of ugly mistakes that have made a bad season much worse for the Twins.
"It didn't work out. We didn't get the ball down," Molitor said.
Throwing strong in his first full season since Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his elbow, Perez hasn't lost in eight starts. The left-hander allowed five hits and three walks in seven innings while striking out three, taking his second no-decision during that span.
IAN IS IN A GROOVE
Desmond, in his first season with the Rangers, leads the majors with 34 multi-hit games. He hit .358 in June and is tied for the team lead in homers (15) and RBIs (52), making quite the case for the All-Star team.
"He just continues to impress us every single night he goes out there," Banister said.
Brian Dozier singled before Plouffe's homer, stretching his hitting streak to a career-high 13 consecutive games during which he's hitting .431 with 12 extra-base hits and 13 RBIs. Dozier's run of 11 games in a row with at least one extra-base hit ended as the longest in a single season in the majors since Chipper Jones had 14 straight in 2006, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Rangers: RHP Yu Darvish (shoulder) took another step toward returning to the rotation, throwing a smooth bullpen session before the game. He'll start a rehab assignment Monday with Double-A Frisco. RHP Keone Kela (elbow) could be back in the bullpen after the All-Star break. He'll pitch Monday for Triple-A Round Rock.
Twins: Miguel Sano played 3B in his return from rehab (hamstring), and he threw Adrian Beltre out with an off-balance, bare-handed grab of a slow grounder to end the sixth. Sano pumped his arm on the way to the dugout. With the RF experiment all but over, Sano will rotate between 3B and DH.