ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Yohander Mendez and Nomar Mazara have gone through down periods this season. Everything came together for them on Sunday.
Mendez earned his first major league win and Mazara hit two of the Texas Rangers’ six homers in an 18-4 rout of the Minnesota Twins.
Mendez (1-1) allowed three hits and one walk while striking out two in six scoreless innings. He was making his second major league start in a season when he was a combined 2-10 with the Rangers’ top three farm teams.
He got more than enough support. Mazara hit a two-run homer in a nine-run sixth inning and a solo homer in a five-run eighth as the Rangers pounded 12 extra-base hits, tying a team record set in 1986. Texas last hit six homers in a game on April 17, 2012, at Boston.
Mendez has been called up to Texas in each of the last three seasons. He began this year at Triple-A Round Rock. After lasting only three innings in a June 15 start for the Rangers, he was sent to Class A Down East to begin his climb back to the majors.
“Always I’ve been working in this process about my front side and fastball command,” Mendez said, “and that’s what I’ve been doing.”
He needed just 79 pitches to retire 18 of the 21 batters he faced.
“Throwing strikes early, using some soft early, some spin early, which was key to how he used his fastball,” manager Jeff Banister said. “I think that was as good as he could go for his first outing back.”
A bruised right thumb that kept Mazara on the disabled list for a month. He still is wary.
“Maybe tomorrow it can be sore,” he said. I don’t know.”
Mazara hit four homers in the three-game series, at least one in each game.
“My timing’s there,” he said. “I’m trying to take a good swing at the ball and something happened.”
Twenty-three-year-old Gabriel Moya, 11 days older than Venezuelan countryman Mendez, made his first major league start after compiling a 3-0 record in 24 relief outings for Minnesota
Moya made it through one inning, allowing a two-run homer by Elvis Andrus.
Robinson Chirinos homered against Zack Littell to ignite the big sixth inning. Shin-Soo Choo followed with a run-scoring double, Minnesota first baseman Chris Gimenez committed a two-run error and Mazara and Jurickson Profar homered.
Profar’s homer came with Adrian Beltre on first after he was the third Ranger hit by a pitch, which led plate umpire Alan Porter to eject Matt Belisle.
“We had no intent to hit Beltre and it certainly wasn’t on our radar because of the way the game was going or anything that had happened in the past,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Porter also ejected Minnesota pitcher Addison Reed for an argument after the eighth.
The nine runs were the most scored in an inning by Texas since a 10-run third against the Yankees in 2015.
Jake Cave hit his third homer in three games into the right-field seats in the eighth inning against Eddie Butler, who finished the game for his second save.
Gimenez moved from first to the mound in the ninth and allowed five runs, including homers by Mazara and Drew Robinson. Gimenez himself hit a two-run homer in the ninth.
Twins: Eddie Rosario (right quadriceps) is “just progressing, getting treatment, he’s not ready to get on the field,” Molitor said.
Rangers: OF Delino DeShields (fractured right middle finger) came off the disabled list on Saturday. He entered that night’s game as a defensive replacement and was used as a pinch runner on Sunday. Banister said nothing physical was keeping DeShields from starting.
NO RECALL FOR BUXTON
Byron Buxton was once the shining star in the Twins’ farm system, and he was a Gold Glove outfielder for Minnesota last season. Now he has been told that he won’t be recalled from Triple-A Rochester.
“We’ve talked about all the frustration and difficulties he’s had to endure,” manager Paul Molitor said, “and when we came down to making the final decision, there were some things around the idea of how he played, injuries that he dealt with, his future. All those things came into play.”
Twins: On Monday, RHP Kyle Gibson (7-11, 3.79 ERA) will start the first in a three-game series at Houston against Astros LHP Dallas Keuchel (10-10, 3.58).
Rangers: LHP Jeffrey Springs (0-0, 2.55) will come out of the bullpen to start ahead of RHP Ariel Jurado (2-4, 6.69) in Monday’s first of three home games against the Angels. Los Angeles’s starter, RHP Matt Shoemaker (1-0, 4.76), is coming back from arm surgery and hasn’t pitched in the majors since March.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/tag/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports