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Three outs on the bases in one inning? Here’s how it happened to Rangers in loss to Twins

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After a mostly lousy road trip, the Texas Rangers opened a six-game homestand Thursday with a mostly lousy game against the Minnesota Twins.

The highlight might have been a 1-2-3 first inning by Pedro Payano, who then recorded only seven more outs while allowing eight runs. But, hey, only five of those runs were earned.

Two errors in the second contributed to the Twins five-run innings and is why Minnesota had more hits (eight) than runs (10) before the Rangers even collected their first hit.

Nomar Mazara delivered it, a two-out double in the fourth.

By that time, though, it was only 91 degrees.

Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 13-6 loss.

Offense good, offense bad

Believe it or not, the offense is what upgraded that loss from completely lousy to mostly lousy, though it wasn’t a picture of perfection.

Here’s one example of the bad: The Rangers made all three outs in the sixth on the bases.

Say what?

It’s true.

The first out came when Willie Calhoun was tagged trying to score on a Rougned Odor double. Calhoun was just obeying third-base coach Tony Beasley.

It happens.

Odor, who went to third, became the second out when he froze on a grounder to third and couldn’t get back to the bag before Miguel Sano, not noted for his defense or his quickness, tagged Odor in a rundown.

That shouldn’t have happened.

“That’s baseball,” Odor said. “Nobody’s perfect.”

The third came at third as catcher Jose Trevino was stopped late after rounding the bag and couldn’t get back in time. Manager Chris Woodward quickly came to the defense of Beasley and the Rangers’ aggressive base running.

“We run the bases very aggressively, and in regards to Beas, Beas, in my opinion, is one of the best, if not the best, third-base coaches in baseball,” Woodward said. “That’s they way I want it. Knowing that you’re going to get thrown out every once in a while is a by-product of that.”

The Rangers managed to score two runs in the inning, but they ran themselves out of a chance to make the Twins sweat.

However, the Rangers managed to bang out 13 hits, and every starter had at least one. Calhoun and Hunter Pence had the loudest two, as each connected for a solo homer.

It was second straight game of moving the needle in the right direction for an offense that struggled mightily on the nine-game road trip, batting .179. The Rangers have had much more success at Globe Life Field, so being home might have aided on the offense’s production against the Twins.

Being home, though, didn’t help that base running.

Pitching plans in motion

Payano’s day got worse after the loss. He was optioned to Triple A Nashville.

The Rangers will make their corresponding move Friday, but Payano wasn’t going to be long for the rotation anyway.

Joe Palumbo will soon be on the roster again. The left-hander tossed six no-hit innings Thursday night at Nashville, and he is likely to start during the Tuesday doubleheader against the Los Angeles Angels.

It would seem that Palumbo would retain his spot in the rotation, giving the Rangers five starters -- Mike Minor, Lance Lynn, Kolby Allard, Ariel Jurado and Palumbo. The Rangers will need a second starter for Tuesday, and conceivable could recall lefty Brock Burke.

Woodward said that the Rangers have talked about a straight six-man rotation, though that would reduce the number of times Minor and Lynn start the rest of the season.

But sticking with five starters would keep Minor and Lynn taking their normal turns.

Payano rates as a pleasant surprise this season, though he’s likely just a depth piece down the road. Every team needs pitching depth, something the Rangers haven’t had for a couple seasons.

Burke is on the 40-man roster and was recently promoted to Nashville, where he has had one good start and one not-so-good start.

Yohander Mendez and Luke Farrell went to spring training as starters before they were injured, but are working as relievers at Double A Frisco. Another starter, Edinson Volquez, is hoping for a September shot at the bullpen.

And that scenario, folks, qualified as exciting news Thursday.

A Mazara platoon partner?

The Rangers have given Mazara time off against left-handed pitchers, who have given him fits all season and led one American League scout to question if Mazara will be an everyday player going forward.

If not, the Rangers might be grooming a platoon partner for him.

Nashville second baseman Nick Solak played his third game in right field Thursday since joining the organization last month in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. He connected for 10th Nashville homer in 26 games.

Maybe Solak is the corresponding move to the Payano transaction, though the team might be better served with a reliever after using four out of the bullpen Thursday. He would need a 40-man roster spot if promoted, but the Rangers can do that fairly easily.

The expectation since Solak was acquired for reliever Peter Fairbanks has been that the Rangers would promote him before the end of the season.

The Rangers believe that Solak is athletic enough to play center field, so covering the outfield corners shouldn’t be a problem for him. His bat has pop in it, albeit all coming in the minors.

Mazara has pop, too, even against lefties. The 492-foot shot he hit in 2016 came off a lefty, and seven of his 20 homers in 2018 were against lefties.

The Rangers shouldn’t completely give up on Mazara against port-siders this season. If his swing continues to be consistent against righties, he will get a chance against lefties.

If the Rangers are going to look at pitchers and look at Solak to see what they have for 2020, they also need to look at Mazara vs. lefties.

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.
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