6/29/2014 8:43 P.M. ET
Gardy's faith in Kendrys pays off
By Grace Raynor / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- First baseman and designated hitter Kendrys Morales was just 1-for-8 in the series with Texas entering Sunday's game, for a .125 average.
But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wasn't concerned before the game, and the veteran hitter proved him right.
Morales produced the game-winning hit in the top of the ninth in Sunday's 3-2 win over the Rangers, slicing a double down the left-field line that hit the side wall and pinballed away from Rangers left fielder Michael Choice, giving pinch-runner Sam Fuld plenty of time to score from first.
Morales is hitting .227 on the season, and his 13 career home runs against the Rangers is his second most against any team, behind his 17 with Oakland.
He's hit 10 homers in Arlington, good for the most he's ever hit in a visiting stadium. So given Morales' track record, it was easy to pencil him into Sunday's lineup. It paid off as the Twins ended a 10-game road losing streak.
"He's gonna play, I like his enthusiasm. I like the way he goes about it, I like his presence, his whole package," Gardenhire said before the game. "We need him in there. I'm gonna get a couple guys back here in the next couple of days here ... so if I need to give him a break when those guys get back, I'll be able to do it.
"He put good swings on the ball [Saturday] ... I'm not too worried about Morales. He's got fresh hands, as they say."
Gardenhire was right.
Rookie Polanco delivers in first big league start
ARLINGTON -- Just two days after he registered his first Major League hit -- a triple that scored two runs on Friday -- Twins rookie Jorge Polanco got his first big league start, and another RBI, on Sunday.
Polanco drilled an RBI double in the top of the third against the Rangers on Sunday for his first run-scoring hit as a starter. Joe Mauer followed with an RBI single to give the Twins a brief 2-1 lead. The Twins went on to win 3-2.
The 20-year-old is the second-youngest player in the league behind Rangers rookie Rougned Odor, and became the first Twins player since 1982 to skip over both Double-A and Triple-A ball en route to the Majors.
Polanco took over starting shortstop duties from usual starter Pedro Florimon Sunday, who despite his consistent defense, is hitting just .092.
Though Twins manager Ron Gardenhire knows that Polanco has room for improvement defensively, the hope was that Polanco's bat will provide an offensive spark -- which it did Sunday.
The rookie now has three RBIs and two hits in just five at bats. He's also scored two runs.
"He did great," Gardenhire said Sunday. " He pretty much covered the field in plays that he had to make and made them all with really nice throws. It was a good performance, fun to see. ... He has good at-bats, he killed one to right-center field that [Alex] Rios ran down. You know what? He's doing just fine. He's got things to learn, but he's doing just fine."
Parmelee gets start in center
ARLINGTON -- Though typically a right fielder, Twins outfielder Chris Parmelee got the start in center Sunday against the Rangers despite never starting there before.
Sam Fuld is typically in center, but because of how productive Parmelee has been offensively, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wanted to find a spot in the lineup for him Sunday, and on Sunday, that place was in center.
"We've had Parmelee out there taking all kind of fly balls in center field and everywhere else. He's swinging great," Gardenhire said. "Hopefully we'll score some runs. We have to score ... we've got to take a little pressure off our pitchers."
Parmelee was 2-for-3 in the three-game series against Texas and had an eight-game hitting streak heading into Sunday's game.
Dozier, Suzuki not concerned with All-Star numbers
ARLINGTON -- Though All-Star festivities will be hosted on their home field and voting ends Thursday, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier and catcher Kurt Suzuki aren't concerned with the numbers.
Each are top-5-vote grabbers in their respective positions, Dozier in fifth with 841,980 and Suzuki in fourth with 812,865 as of Sunday.
The newest results are slated to be released in a few days.
"You can ask Kurt his opinion, but mine, it's kind of the least of my worries right now, especially going through this stretch," Dozier said. "We're needing wins going into the All-Star break and that's really the only thing on my mind."
Suzuki echoed that sentiment.
"You just you try to let that stuff play out," Suzuki said. "I've always felt that the more games you win, that means everyone's doing well so everything will kind of play out after that."
• The Twins had dropped five in a row, including 10 straight on the road entering Sunday. This marks the longest streak since they lost 11 consecutive games Sept. 3-24 in 2011.
• Against the American League West, the Twins were 4-14 this season entering Sunday, which includes dropping nine of their last 10.
• Trevor Plouffe and Eduardo Nunez are expected to rejoin the Twins from the disabled list Monday, when the Royals travel to Minneapolis.
Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.