MILWAUKEE — Jorge Polanco is expected to make his season debut Monday night when the Minnesota Twins open a two-game interleague series against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
Polanco will be reinstated Monday from his 80-game suspension for use of performance-enhancing drugs after going 6-for-13 in four games with Triple-A Rochester.
He batted .256 with 13 home runs [url=http://www.steelersfootballauthentics.com/juju-smith-schuster-jersey-authentic]Youth JuJu Smith-Schuster Jersey[/url] , 30 doubles in 133 games last year and was especially strong in the second half, slashing .293/.359/.511 with 10 homers and 43 RBIs.
That performance moved him into the No. 3 spot in the Twins’ lineup, but manager Paul Molitor said he probably won’t bat that high right away upon his return.
“We know what he did last year when he had a chance to move up into a pretty important role,” Molitor told reporters Sunday in Chicago. “I don’t know we’ll jump him up there that fast. For us to see him is going to be different than hearing about him and reading about him and texting him and all those kinds of things.
“We’ll see how it is. To be honest, coming up here and playing, even though he’s doing really well, it’s going to be a little different than what he’s been doing.”
Right-hander Kyle Gibson (2-6) starts for Minnesota. He posted a 2.45 ERA through his first four June starts but saw that number grow to 3.35 after allowing five runs in seven innings to the Chicago White Sox his last time out.
Gibson struck out seven in the game and walked just one but gave up a season-high 11 hits.
“I went back and looked at some of the hits I gave up,” Gibson said. “I don’t know if I just picked the wrong pitch at the wrong time or what. I executed quite a few pitches there, and they found holes.”
The Twins dropped a three-game weekend series to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field and have lost eight of their last 10 overall.
Milwaukee struggled during the weekend, too, dropping the last two of a four-game series at Cincinnati. The Brewers managed just five total runs in those losses while allowing 20, including a grand slam in each one.
“Two runs, three runs … You’re going to need more to win most games,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Despite that showing, the Brewers will return home still leading the National League Central by a half-game over the Cubs, who will be idle Monday.
Brent Suter (8-5) gets the nod in the series opener. He’ll be looking to get back on track after his three-game winning streak was snapped last week by the Kansas City Royals.
Suter overcame a somewhat slow start to the season and has turned into a solid starter in the last two months. He’s 6-2 with a 3.50 ERA in his last eight starts. Before his outing against Kansas City, he hadn’t allowed more than three runs in his previous seven games.
Part of Suter’s success can be attributed to his pace, which is among the game’s fastest. That makes it difficult for hitters to settle in between pitches and, Suter admits, there can be a slight advantage to working quickly.
“I don’t want to quick-pitch people; I don’t do that,” he said. “But I want to keep the tempo up and let my fielders get back in and hit as quickly as possible. That’s how I operate. If that gets them uncomfortable, that’s fine [url=http://www.steelersfootballauthentics.com/juju-smith-schuster-jersey-authentic]Womens JuJu Smith-Schuster Jersey[/url] , but I’m just in attack mode and up-tempo.”
Suter is 1-0 with a 3.72 ERA in two career starts against the Twins, both of which came at Target Field. He held them to a run and five hits while striking out six in 5 2/3 innings on May 18.
Austin Bibens-Dirkx earned his first victory of the season, shutting down a struggling Kansas City Royals squad that’s wondering when it will get its next win.
Bibens-Dirkx pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Rougned Odor homered and the Texas Rangers extended their winning streak to a season-high five games with a 3-2 victory Wednesday night.
Bibens-Dirkx (1-1) allowed one run and five hits in 6 2/3 innings for his first win since last Sept. 6 in a relief appearance at Atlanta – and sent the Royals to their ninth straight loss.
”The first two starts didn’t quite go as I had wanted,” Bibens-Dirkx said, ”so to get another opportunity and to come out here and do what I feel like I can do on a pretty consistent basis was nice.”
Kansas City’s slump is its longest this season, and the Royals have dropped 15 of 16 overall and been outscored 102-38 while losing 16 of 18 in June. Their worst June in franchise history was 7-19 in 1970, the team’s second year in existence. The Royals will wind up June with nine games against the Astros, Angels, Brewers and Mariners, clubs above .500.
Bibens-Dirkx, a 33-year-old right-hander, spent 12 years in the minors, including two seasons with independent league teams before making his big league debut last year. He was called up to replace Yohander Mendez, who was sent to Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday after violating team rules.
Jake Diekman worked the ninth for his second save, but not before yielding a leadoff homer to Mike Moustakas. The game ended when Hunter Dozier was thrown out at second on a delayed steal.
”It’s perfect timing,” Royals manager Ned Yost said to steal. ”You probably haven’t noticed that we’ve been having trouble bunching some hits together. It’s a chance to maybe hopefully catch them by surprise and get into scoring position and one hit will tie the ballgame up and keep us going.”
Yost acknowledged that Isiah Kiner-Falefa making his first big league start behind the plate factored into the decision to send Dozier. His throw nearly hit Diekman in the head.
”It was kind of scary, a crazy, crazy way to end the game,” Kiner-Falefa said. ”It worked out. Everything worked out. That was close. I was kind of in shock that he was out. I was just glad it didn’t hit Jake, honestly. I tried to adjust my throw last second and saw it bounce, but that was close.”
Diekman just avoided being hit.
”I was shocked – that the ball was thrown [url=http://www.steelersfootballauthentics.com/james-conner-jersey-authentic]Youth James Conner Jersey[/url] , that he was running at all – but it was my bad for not getting out of the way,” Diekman said. ”It ended the game and it didn’t hit me, so we’re good.”
Odor homered into the Royals’ bullpen with two outs in the sixth on a 1-2 pitch from Royals starter Jakob Junis, who has lost his last five starts and has not won since May 18. Junis (5-8) has given up 19 home runs to tie for the American League lead. He allowed three runs and five hits with four walks and a hit batter.
”I’ve given up a lot of home runs this year,” Junis said. ”It’s something I’m conscious about. I’m trying to keep in the ball park because when I do that’s when I have more success. I can’t pinpoint on it on one exact thing.”
Shin-Soo Choo led off the game with a single, extending his on-base streak to 34 games. He stole second, moved to third on Elvis Andrus‘ high chopper back to Junis and scored on Nomar Mazara’s fly out to center,
The Rangers loaded the bases with no outs in the second on singles by Jurickson Profar and Odor and Joey Gallo’s first of three walks. The Rangers, however, converted that into only one run when Kiner-Falefa grounded into a double play.
Alex Gordon singled with one out in the Kansas City second and scored on Dozier’s double.
Bibens-Dirkx and Kiner-Falefa became the first starting pitcher and catcher in big league history with hyphenated last names.
After the Royals traded closer Kelvin Herrera to Washington, who will inherit that role? ”All of them,” Yost said of his relievers. ”Opportunity exists down there. We’ll have to see who takes advantage of it. I’ll look at different guys, but I would prefer one guy to emerge, take advantage of the opportunity. But it’s wide-open right now.”
Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (elbow discomfort) threw batting practice to C Robinson Chirinos and OF Carlos Tocci. He is hopeful to begin a minor league rehab assignment Monday. ”There were some quality pitches inside the set, like a guy that was getting ready to take the next step of the rehab process,” Banister said. … RHP Chris Martin (right calf strain) also threw to hitters. He is eligible to come off the disabled list Friday. ”He’s close,” Banister said.
Rangers: Off on Thursday before opening a weekend series Friday at Minnesota with LHP Mike Minor (4-4, 5.35) starting.
Royals: Travel day on Thursday to Houston, where LHP Danny Duffy (3-7, 5.55) will start the series opener Friday.
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