MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kenta Maeda steered himself back on track by keeping the Texas Rangers scoreless into the sixth inning, and the Minnesota Twins won the opener of a four-game series 6-5 on Monday night.
Maeda (2-2) had a season-high eight strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings, allowing only two singles and two walks in what was by far the best of his six starts this season.
“I guess I was skewed toward bad habits, so I made some adjustments with the mechanics and we talked a little about the mental side of the game,” Maeda said through a translator. “And I think it all came out together in a good way.”
Jorge Polanco had an RBI triple and an RBI double, and rookie Alex Kirilloff kept up his torrid start with two doubles for the Twins. One of them was a two-out, run-scoring line drive to left field in a three-run sixth that came against the left-handed reliever, Kolby Allard, brought in to face him.
“We didn’t have a homer, but I almost feel we did have a homer, the way we swung the bats,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Adolis García hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning for the Rangers against Brandon Waddell, who was called up from Triple-A before the game, but Tyler Duffey escaped with a 5-3 lead intact after allowing his inherited runner to score.
Joey Gallo hit a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth against Taylor Rogers, who got his second save by striking out García.
Maybe the biggest mystery of Minnesota’s rough first month was the struggle by Maeda, who finished second in AL Cy Young Award voting last year. This was more like it, as he lowered his ERA from 6.56 to 5.34 while leading the Twins to their fourth victory in five games.
“Sometimes, he has bad outings. But today, he was really good,” Polanco said.
Dane Dunning (1-2) bounced back,…