MLB

Rangers, Twins still looking to make run

MINNEAPOLIS -- Following Minnesota's stirring win against Texas on Friday as 44-year-old Bartolo Colon became the oldest pitcher to throw a complete game since 2010, the Twins also closed the gap on the Kansas City Royals for an American League wild-card spot to 3.5 games.

Minnesota's Brian Dozier, who hit two homers in Friday's win, steadfastly proclaimed the Twins aren't done competing this year.

"No white flags in here," Dozier said. "Zero."

Minnesota (52-55) and the Rangers (52-57) still hold out hope as they continue their four-game series on Saturday. The Twins will send right-hander Kyle Gibson (6-8, 6.08 ERA) to the mound against Texas left-hander Cole Hamels (5-1, 4.01).

Earlier in the day, Minnesota manager Paul Molitor was asked about young right fielder Max Kepler, who has struggled recently against left-handed pitching and was out of Friday's lineup against left-hander Martin Perez.

Molitor said Kepler has gotten a chance against left-handers but said winning is taking precedent over development, for now.

"We're still trying to win," Molitor said. "I think that prioritizes over development. We look for spots when we can try and accomplish both."

Rangers manager Jeff Banister took a different approach before the game, saying utility man Drew Robinson could start to see some time in center field. Banister is weighing winning now and using his veteran players while also trying to develop his younger players.

"Carlos Gomez is our center fielder," Banister told MLB.com. "But you also have to get some experience for the young guys in the organization who are major league candidates to play that position."

On the mound, neither of Saturday's starters are young players but Gibson is still looking to develop into a reliable option.

Gibson lost his spot in the starting rotation recently when Minnesota acquired Jaime Garcia in a trade from the Atlanta Braves. The Twins optioned Gibson to Triple-A Rochester but Garcia only made one start for Minnesota before being traded again before the deadline.

Gibson will get his third chance in the rotation this season. He returns after one start in Triple-A when he pitched five scoreless innings with one hit allowed. He was sent down after one of his better starts of the season. On July 22, he pitched a season-high 7 1/3 innings to beat Detroit by allowing three runs.

"I think it was just a numbers game at the time," Gibson told MLB.com "They told me to just keep up what I've been doing. I felt really good against Detroit, felt good against Houston. Some unlucky stuff there, but I've been feeling really good. My execution has been better. I'm still trying to get ahead of guys and execute as many pitches as possible."

Gibson, like Dozier, was still talking about competing for the postseason.

"We're still pretty excited about where we're at and pretty confident," Gibson told MLB.com "I'd like to be the guy who can solidify the rotation. Hopefully we can get on a roll here and before you know it, we'll be leading the wild card."

Gibson is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA in four career starts against the Rangers.

Hamels owns a 6.35 career ERA against Minnesota, the highest of any opponent with at least six starts against. He gave up three runs in 6 2/3 innings against the Twins in Texas on April 26, earning the victory in the game.

However, over his last three starts overall, Hamels has a 7.27 ERA. He's surrendered 14 earned runs in 17 1/3 innings over the three starts.

In his last outing against Seattle, Hamels allowed four runs -- three earned -- in six innings.

"Ultimately when it comes down to the heart of the lineup, you have to keep the ball down, and that wasn't the case in the fourth inning," Hamels told MLB.com "Obviously, I left pitches up and those guys were able to do what they do."