Grand time for Twins, go into break with 15-5 win at Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Max Kepler hit Minnesota’s first grand slam this season and the Twins added three more homers to go into the All-Star break with a 15-5 win over the AL-leading Texas Rangers on Sunday.

Minnesota won three of four at Texas after taking the last two games of its home series against the Rangers the previous weekend.

Kepler’s slam came with two outs in the fifth off A.J. Griffin (3-1), putting the Twins up 6-0. It was the first career grand slam for Kepler, and seventh homer in his last 20 games.

Kennys Vargas hit a towering shot to center in the fourth for the game’s first run. Eduardo Escobar and Brian Dozier added back-to-back homers in a seven-run seventh for the Twins, who have won seven of their last nine games but still have the American League’s worst record at 32-56.

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The Twins have hit 29 homers their last 15 games, and their 140 runs since June 18 are the most in the majors.

Tommy Milone (2-2) struck out three and walked three. The left-hander was out of the game after walking Adrian Beltre to start the sixth, and Ryan Rua promptly grounded into a double play against reliever Taylor Rogers.

Despite losing nine of their last 12 games, the Rangers still have the AL’s best record at 54-36. Their AL West lead is down to 5 1/2 games, the smallest since June 14, after Houston beat Oakland 2-1 in 10 innings on Sunday.

The Rangers finally got on the board during a three-batter span in the fifth — from the bottom third of their lineup. After Rougned Odor’s one-out single, Elvis Andrus had an RBI double and scored on a single by Bobby Wilson. Beltre had an RBI single in the eighth, and Jurickson Profar hit his fourth homer in the ninth.

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Vargas had his third homer in six games since being called up July 4. … The Twins matched their season high with 18 hits, after also having 18 in the series opener Thursday night. Robbie Grossman, Eddie Rosario and Kurt Suzuki, their Nos. 6-8 batters, each had three hits, and No. 9 batter Escobar had two hits. … 2B Odor had two errors in the eighth.


Twins: CF Byron Buxton missed his second game because of a bruised right knee sustained in the first inning Friday night when he crashed into the wall. Buxton was available, but manager Paul Molitor wanted to give Buxton more time to get him “back feeling good” instead of playing just one more game before the All-Star break.

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Rangers: RHP Keone Kela (right elbow) was scheduled to pitch in relief at Double-A Frisco for the second consecutive game Sunday night. If all goes well, he could rejoin the Rangers after the All-Star break.


Twins: Minnesota opens a three-game series Friday at home against AL Central-leading Cleveland.

Rangers: After the All-Star break, the Rangers open a 10-day, nine-game road trip Friday with an interleague series at the Chicago Cubs.