Progress for the Texas Rangers' injury-riddled starting rotation on Saturday night meant getting at least five innings, which had not happened since July 1.
Kyle Lohse lasted exactly five innings in his Rangers debut but took the loss as the Minnesota Twins won 8-6. Eddie Rosario homered, tied a career record with four hits and scored a career-high four runs.
With Texas losing six of its last eight games, starters have an ERA of 10.45 during that span with opponents hitting .400. Three of the Rangers' regular starters have been on the disabled list: Yu Darvish, Colby Lewis and Derek Holland.
Connecting you to your favorite North Texas sports teams as well as sports news around the globe.
"That in itself does put pressure on the offense," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said of the starters' collective recent struggles. "Guys don't play as relaxed at times. It is obviously a challenge. We go as our starters go."
The Twins, with the American League's worst record, have won four of six over the past nine days against the club with the league's best record to clinch the season series with one game left. Minnesota has outscored Texas 47-25 in the six games.
"We had enough offense," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We made a starter work again, got his pitch count up. It wasn't the prettiest of games, but we found a way to win."
Ricky Nolasco (4-7) won for the first time since June 13. He allowed three earned runs on nine hits with no walks in six innings.
Lohse (0-1) gave up six runs and nine hits making 109 pitches after being officially added to the roster from Triple-A Round Rock earlier Saturday. It was the 37-year-old's first major league start since last August for the Milwaukee Brewers.
"It felt good to be back," Lohse said. "I didn't have my best stuff today. Obviously, I didn't have a very good fastball and I tried to make do with what I had. The tough thing was I got beat several times on my fourth pitch, which was the curveball. I didn't really get into the game plan the way I wanted to."
Lohse's five-inning start ended a club-record seven-game stretch during which no Rangers starter lasted that far. His night nearly ended in the first inning.
"I just felt a little something in my side and talked to them and told them I'd just keep taking the ball," he said. "I'm not going to put the bullpen out there for nine innings."
The Rangers haven't won consecutive games since a four-game winning streak, June 25-28.
Ian Desmond had a double and two singles to give him 37 multi-hit games, one behind major league leader Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox.
Elvis Andrus' two hits included his fourth home run of the season, his first since June 15.
The game began after a rain delay of 1 hour, 10 minutes.
Banister said he plans to begin the second half of the season with Martin Perez (7-5) to open a three-game road series against the Chicago Cubs on July 15. Cole Hamels (9-2) will close that series on July 17. If Darvish (2-0) is ready to return, he'll likely pitch the middle game.
Twins: CF Byron Buxton (knee bruise) didn't play after leaving Friday's game in the first inning after colliding with the outfield wall. An MRI taken Saturday morning was negative.
Rangers: Darvish (shoulder soreness) is scheduled to throw 75 pitches in a rehab assignment Sunday night for Double-A Frisco. Reliever Keone Kela (elbow), out since late April, pitched one inning on Saturday night for Frisco and is scheduled to pitch again Sunday night.
Minnesota LHP Tommy Milone (1-2) allowed one run over six innings in his last start, equaling his longest outing of the season to earn the win. Texas RHP A.J. Griffin (3-0) hasn't gotten a decision in three starts since returning from the disabled list (right shoulder stiffness).