CINCINNATI (AP) — Mike Minor had a two-run lead before his first pitch, which was quite a pleasing switch. For nearly a month, the left-hander had gotten very little help from the Rangers’ offense.
He wasn’t about to let a rare lead slip away on a stormy night.
Minor pitched into the seventh inning for his first win in nearly a month, Jeff Mathis had a pair of hits and drove in a run, and Texas won its second straight over the Cincinnati Reds, 4-3 on Saturday night.
The Rangers took advantage of three Reds errors and finally got some runs for Minor (6-4), who was 0-1 in his last four starts despite allowing a total of six runs. Texas had scored a total of five runs while he was on the mound in those games.
“It was great to have the lead early,” Minor said.
The lefty gave up Yasiel Puig’s two-run homer and Curt Casali’s solo shot in 6 1/3 innings for his first win since May 20. Shawn Kelley pitched the ninth in a heavy rain for his eighth save in 12 chances.
Rain began falling into the bottom of the seventh, and it was coming down heavy with lightning flashing in the distance as Kelley retired the three batters he faced in the ninth.
“I didn’t know how much longer we were going to play,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said.
Mathis emerged from a 1-for-13 slump with a double and a run-scoring single . Danny Santana also had a pair of hits and scored a run, and Asdrubal Cabrera added an RBI single off Tanner Roark (4-6), who has lost all of his three starts in June.
The Reds also lost rookie center fielder Nick Senzel, who fouled a pitch off his left eye in the fifth inning. The ball deflected off his left foot, came up and hit the bill of his helmet and his eye. He got several stitches above the eye.
Senzel was the second overall pick in the 2016 amateur draft, but his ascent has been slowed by a series of injuries. He set a club record with three homers in his first four games after making his debut on May 3.
“I’ll try to throw some ice on it and get the swelling down,” Senzel said. “I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”
Roark needed 27 pitches to get through a two-run first inning, which was extended by Joey Votto’s throwing error.
“I thought we came out flat,” Roark said. “We had a lack of energy. We picked things up along the way, which was good. We need to play with intensity and energy.”
The Reds wore uniforms reminiscent of 1935 as part of their 150th anniversary of Cincinnati’s first professional team. They’ve already worn throwback uniforms from 1902, 1911, 1912 and 1919.
The Rangers are 8-6 in interleague play this season. The Reds are 2-5.
The Rangers improved to 13-12 in one-run games.
Reds manager David Bell spoke with Tyler Mahle on Saturday, a day after the starter complained about being removed after 4 1/3 innings and 96 pitches. Mahle has gone no more than five innings in his last four starts, prompting him to say, “It’s getting pretty ridiculous at this point.”
Bell wasn’t upset with Mahle’s public complaint, saying, “I don’t actually see it as a negative.”
Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin was at the ballpark as part of a Larkin bobblehead giveaway promotion.
Roark caught Ronald Guzman’s head-high liner back to the mound in the second inning, ducking his face to get his glove on it.
Rangers: Outfielder Joey Gallo could be activated by the end of next week. He has been on the injured list since June 2 with a strained left oblique. Gallo is working out with the Rangers and is expected to do a brief rehab assignment. … Right fielder Nomar Mazara left after the seventh inning with a tight right hamstring.
Reds: Left-handed reliever Wandy Peralta went on the 10-day injured list with a strained right hip, suffered Friday night during a 7-1 loss to the Rangers. Outfielder Phillip Ervin was recalled from Triple-A Louisville for his fourth stint this season with Cincinnati.
Rangers: Ariel Jurado (4-2) has won his last three starts, matching his career high, and made four straight quality starts. He has never faced the Reds.
Reds: Sonny Gray (2-5) is 8-3 career against the Rangers with a 2.72 ERA and two complete games in 13 starts.