ARLINGTON – Leonys Martin pointed to the dugout and raced towards first base with his teammates charging out.
His two-out single in the ninth drove in the game-winning run and lifted the Texas Rangers to a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night.
It was the sixth walk-off victory for the Rangers this season, two of them coming on hits by Martin. He homered to end a game against the Angels on July 30.
The Rangers have now won eight of their last 10 to maintain at least a two-game lead over the A’s in the American League West, and finished August with a 20-7 record, the franchise’s fourth month with at least 20 wins and first since May 2009.
With the game tied 1-1 going into the ninth, Twins lefty Caleb Thielbar got A.J. Pierzynski to pop out but gave up a double to left to Alex Rios.
The Twins then intentionally walked pinch-hitter Jeff Baker to get to Jurickson Profar, who flew out to center but advanced Rios to third. That brought up pinch-hitter Craig Gentry, who drew a walk against right-hander Josh Roenicke to load the bases.
The Twins made another pitching change to get the lefty-lefty matchup against Martin by bringing in lefty Brian Duensing. It didn’t pay off, though, when Martin lined a single up the middle to score Rios.
Rangers starter Matt Garza didn’t get off to a promising start. He gave up a leadoff home run to Brian Dozier to start the game, and then walked Chris Herrmann on five pitches. But Garza got two quick outs by striking out Josh Willingham and Pierzynski throwing out Herrmann trying to steal second.
Garza ended the inning by striking out Ryan Doumit. He worked around a two-out single in the second, and a bunt single in the fifth. The only trouble real trouble he ran into again came in the seventh.
Garza walked Doumit to start the inning, and issued another free pass to Chris Colabello with one out. He got out of it, though, by getting Clete Thomas to fly out and Darin Mastroianni to strike out in what became a 30-pitch inning.
It was Garza’s best start since his debut with the Rangers on July 24 when he held the Yankees to an unearned run over 7 1/3 innings.
Garza allowed only the leadoff homer over seven strong innings, while striking out nine. He didn’t get the win, however, as the offense didn’t come to life until late in the game.
The Rangers tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first. Elvis Andrus had a one-out single, and moved to third on a single by Ian Kinsler. Andrus came up limping on the play and left with lower back tightness.
Andrus is listed as day-to-day and the team doesn’t believe the injury is serious. Adam Rosales pinch-ran for Andrus at third, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Adrian Beltre.-- Drew Davison