ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Mike Minor got to finish what he started, something the lefty never got a chance to do for the Texas Rangers last season in his return to a rotation.
Minor threw a three-hitter for his first career shutout, limiting the Los Angeles to three singles in his 103 pitches as the Rangers got drastically different two-run homers from Joey Gallo and Asdrubal Cabrera in a 5-0 win Tuesday night.
“It’s just about pitching,” Minor said. “There’s no other obstacles in the way. It’s if I’m getting guys out and the pitch count is right, then go back out there and pitch.”
Minor (2-1), who got his second career complete game in 142 starts, has pitched seven innings in three consecutive starts for the first time since late in the 2014 season with the Atlanta Braves. That was before he missed the next two seasons because of a torn labrum in his shoulder.
After coming back as a full-time reliever for Kansas City in 2017, he signed a three-year deal with the Rangers before last season for the chance to be a starter again. He led them with 12 wins last season, when his longest outing was seven innings and most of his starts were on extended rest, before becoming their opening-day starter this year.
“He was just dominant all the way. He used all of his pitches, kept them off-balance. A lot of weak swings,” manager Chris Woodward said. “He made a lot of ugly swings on a lot of their guys, and it was pretty impressive. … That’s our No. 1 right there.”
Minor was at 96 pitches after getting the final two outs in the eighth on two pitches. He needed only seven pitches to finish off the first complete-game home shutout for the Rangers since Colby Lewis against Oakland in September 2015.
Asked if he’s better now than ever, Minor responded, “Yeah, maybe. I had a really good year in 2013 right before my shoulder started hurting me. I think I have better stuff now than I did back then.”
There were also a couple of defensive gems from his teammates.
Shortstop Elvis Andrus made a diving stop up the middle, scooping the ball from his glove to second baseman Danny Santana for the relay of a double play in the sixth. That was an inning after third baseman Cabrera made a sliding grab, then got up and threw leadoff hitter David Fletcher out at first.
Minor struck out seven and walked two. The only time the Angels had a runner reach second base was when Fletcher led off the game with a walk and moved up on a single by Andrelton Simmons, a former teammate of Minor’s with the Braves who had two of the hits.
“He always had the potential. I mean, he was dealing with some injuries before,” Simmons said. “It looks like he’s feeling better now. He pitched phenomenally.”
Cabrera put Texas up 3-0 when his deep fly ricocheted of the wrist of leaping right fielder Kole Calhoun and went over the 8-foot wall in the fourth off Jaime Barria (1-1).
“Tried to make a play on the ball, hit the wall, and it popped over. It’s kind of bad luck,” Calhoun said.
Gallo, who like Cabrera hit his sixth homer, pulled a 439-foot shot that landed on the concourse beyond the lower-level seats to greet reliever Dillon Peters in the sixth and make it 5-0.
NOT AS PERFECT
The only previous complete-game shutout by Texas against the Angeles was Kenny Rogers’ perfect game in Arlington on July 28, 1994.
The Angels are 2-14 in their last 16 road games dating back to last September — a span in which they are 12-2 at home. … The Rangers have homered in all 10 of their home games, the longest season-opening home HR streak in Texas history. … It was the second shutout of the season for Texas, both at home after having only one shutout win at home last season. … Los Angeles was held scoreless for the first time since its season-opening 4-0 loss at Oakland.
Angels: Two-time AL MVP Mike Trout was the DH for the second game in a row in his return from missing three games with a right groin strain. Trout had an infield single in the sixth and has reached base in all 14 of his games, his longest on-base streak to start a season.
Angels: Matt Harvey (0-1) is still looking for his first win with the Angels. It will be his fourth start and second against the Rangers, who had eight runs and 10 hits in four innings off of him April 4.
Rangers: Lance Lynn (1-1) works on extended six days’ rest since he allowed one run and struck out nine over six innings to win at Arizona.