(SportsNetwork.com) - A couple of teams dangerously close to bottoming out in their respective divisions in the American League get back at it at Globe Life Park Saturday when the Texas Rangers play host to the Minnesota Twins.
The Twins, just a half game out of last in the AL Central, are in the midst of a four-game slide at the moment and are on the verge of suffering their second five-game losing streak in a span of barely two weeks. Minnesota dropped the series opener yesterday by just one run, 5-4, but the squad was shut out for the first eight innings of the contest before making a late run.
Jorge Polanco knocked in a pair with a triple in the top of the ninth for the visitors with one out, but the tying run was stranded on third as Brian Dozier struck out and Kurt Suzuki grounded out third to first to end the game.
Minnesota starter Kevin Correia was charged with the loss, dropping him to a disappointing 4-9 on the campaign, as he gave up four runs on six hits, a pair of walks, and fanned three over six innings.
The winning pitcher was Nick Tepesch as he allowed just three hits and two walks over 7 1/3 innings, striking out five. Joakim Soria made things more than a little interesting as he gave up four runs in his one inning of relief.
"The command of my fastball just wasn't where I wanted it today and they were hitting my pitches," Soria said. "That's basically what happened. My command wasn't where it needed to be or where I wanted it and they scored some runs as a result. But we won and that's the most important thing. We broke the losing streak and that's what we were hoping to do."
Shin-Soo Choo accounted for three of his team's eight hits, while Adrian Beltre connected on his ninth home run and plated three as the Rangers snapped a lengthy eight-game slide.
"It's always good to get some early runs and give your starting pitcher some breathing room to work with," Beltre said. "After that, Tepesch was tremendous. Seven-plus innings, solid, that was exactly what we needed."
New to the Minnesota pitching staff this season is right-hander Phil Hughes, the starter for the Twins this afternoon in the Lone Star State. Hughes, who played for the Yankees between 2007-2013, has won two of his last three outings.
The most recent victory for Hughes came last weekend when he pitched against the Chicago White Sox at home, permitting five runs on eight hits and a walk, while striking out four over the required five innings in order to earn the decision.
The California native has a career record of 2-2 with a 2.09 ERA in seven appearances versus Texas, but working in his favor this time around is his ability to compete on the road, thanks to a 5-1 away mark thus far in 2014.
Handling the action from the mound for the Rangers this time around is Yu Darvish. The Japanese product recently saw a four-game win streak come to an end and is now in jeopardy of dropping three in a row if today's outcome is not in his favor.
Darvish went up against the Angels last weekend and was touched for five runs on five hits -- two home runs -- and four walks. He managed to strike out nine batters, raising his season total to 118 in just 96 1/3 innings, over his six innings of work.
The 27-year old has made just two previous starts against the Twins and lost his lone decision.
During the first series of the season between these clubs last month at Target Field, Texas managed to take two of three meetings.