MINNEAPOLIS – Forget the rookie status.
The Texas Rangers’ rookies in the rotation have pitched like savvy veterans the past two nights. After Nick Tepesch threw 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball Thursday, Justin Grimm turned in his best start in the big leagues Friday.
Grimm threw seven scoreless innings and helped the Rangers to a 4-3 victory over the Twins at Target Field.
Grimm scattered five hits with no walks and four strikeouts on the night.
Grimm stranded two runners in the first inning, and worked out of jams the rest of the night. The leadoff man reached in the third, but Grimm erased that by inducing a double-play grounder in the next at-bat. The leadoff man reached again in the sixth, but Grimm retired the next three to end that threat.
Grimm pitched around a one-out single in the seventh, and then gave way to Tanner Scheppers in the eighth. Scheppers pitched a perfect inning, and Joe Ortiz came in for the ninth.
But Ortiz allowed the first two batters to reach before striking out Chris Parmelee. Ron Washington went to Joe Nathan after that with one out and runners on the corner.
Nathan struck out Trevor Plouffe, but then gave up a three-run shot to Oswaldo Arcia as the Twins pulled to within 4-3. But Nathan got pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit to fly out and converted his second save in as many nights.
The Rangers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first on RBI doubles by Lance Berkman and Nelson Cruz, who has RBIs in six straight games.
The next two innings didn’t go as smoothly, though, with some base-running adventures. But the Rangers eventually got back on track.
Adrian Beltre sent a deep fly ball over the center field fence in the sixth to extend the Rangers lead to 3-0, and Ian Kinsler had an RBI double in the ninth. Those proved to be necessary runs, in the end.
-- Drew Davison