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Minnesota will use the “opener” strategy with its pitchers for the first time this season when left-handed reliever Gabriel Moya is expected to start for the Twins against the Texas Rangers on Sunday http://www.marlinsfanproshop.com/authen ... uto-jersey , following a practice began in May by Tampa Bay and utilized by a handful of other major league teams this year.Right-hander Zack Littell will be recalled from Triple-A Rochester to serve as what Minnesota manager Paul Molitor has dubbed the Twins’ “primary pitcher” after Moya.The Rangers will counter with left-hander Yohander Mendez (0-1, 14.73 ERA) as their starter in the rubber game of the series at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.Article continues below ...Texas hit four homers to beat Minnesota 7-4 on Saturday to snap a five-game losing streak. Rookie Ronald Guzman hit a three-run homer while Nomar Marzara, Adrian Beltre and Rougned Odor hit solo homers.The Twins have been utilizing the “opener” strategy for months at both the Double-A and Triple-A levels. Minnesota decided to push back right-hander Kyle Gibson’s start to Monday in Houston to try the strategy because the Rangers have a left-handed top of their batting order.The “opener” is employed to keep the game’s primary pitcher from facing the top of the lineup early and to be limited to two times through the order.“You don’t want to do it on a whim,” Twins manager Paul Molitor told MLB.com. “There’s always going to be a risk, and then you try to decide in the game when it’s worthwhile to try to find out if this is something that’s going to be helpful to help your team win. You’re looking for an advantage.”The Rangers activated pitcher Bartolo Colon off the disabled list Saturday, but then scratched him from Sunday’s start against the Twins because of a stomach virus. Colon hasn’t pitched since Aug. 20 because of stiffness in his back. The 45-year-old is a free agent after this season.The 23-year-old Mendez is set to be recalled Sunday to make his second start and third appearance of 2018. He has never faced Minnesota.Mendez is being brought back to the big leagues for the first time since June 19, when he was demoted to Class A after violating team rules in Kansas City.“He took the challenges with the right attitude Brian Anderson Jersey , went back down, and he’s going to get an opportunity to come back up tomorrow and start for us,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said of Mendez.The Rangers are satisfied that Mendez has done everything asked of him since the demotion.“Reports I got were that he worked his rear end off, physically and mentally, and took all the challenges and met all of them, even when they were a little bit tough,” Banister said. “The thing that I like about our coaching staff and this organization is that things like that happen. (But if) you go do your work, you’re given that opportunity to clean that slate http://www.marlinsfanproshop.com/authen ... jas-jersey , go do what you need to do.”Mendez exited his last start for Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday at home against Memphis after two innings when he was struck on his left arm by a batted ball. He is expected to be fully healthy for Sunday’s start. PHOENIX (AP) — Edwin Diaz had a rare night of struggles, facing runners on the corners with no outs in a one-run game. A rundown and two fly outs later, the Seattle closer reached a rare milestone.Now it’s time for Diaz’s manager to get a haircut.Diaz worked out of a jam in the 10th inning to become the 17th player in big league history with 50 saves in a season and Denard Span hit a solo home run in the top half to lift the Mariners a 4-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night.Diaz made a bet with Scott Servais in April that he’d hit 50 saves this season and now the Mariners manager has to pay up by getting a haircut like his closer’s — possibly as early as Sunday.“They said they had a barber here, so he might get it tomorrow,” Diaz said. “Let’s see what happens.”Arizona took a 3-1 lead in the seventh on A.J. Pollock’s broken-bat, two-run single, but the Diamondbacks couldn’t hold it.Brad Boxberger walked a batter and gave up a single to put runners at the corners in the ninth. Kyle Seager hit a two-run double just inside the line in right to tie it.“He just hit it in the right spot and that’s what happened,” Boxberger said. “It just didn’t work out today.”Jake Diekman (0-1) got the first out of the 10th before Span sent a drive onto the pool deck in right-center for the go-ahead run.Arizona had runners at the corners after a pair of singles off Diaz in the 10th Bryan Holaday Jersey , but Paul Goldschmidt got caught in a rundown trying to score on David Peralta’s grounder to third. Diaz got Nick Ahmed and Ketel Marte to fly out to reach the 50-save milestone and win his haircut bet.“It’s all in good fun,” Servais said. “It’s really hard to get 50 saves in this game.”Alex Colome (5-5) worked around Pollock’s two-out infield single in the ninth and Mitch Haniger led off the game with a long homer for the Mariners.Eduardo Escobar hit a solo homer for the Diamondbacks, who went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position to drop into a tie with Colorado atop the NL West.“These are grinding, tough losses, but this group has been resilient, very tough and they’ll be ready to play tomorrow,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.Arizona starter Robbie Ray had command problems in his last start, walking five while allowing three runs on two hits in 4 1/3 innings of a win over San Diego.The left-hander had trouble almost immediately against the Mariners Brad Ziegler Jersey , watching his second pitch of the night sail deep to center for a home run by Haniger. The Mariners loaded the bases as Ray bounced several curveballs in the dirt, but he struck out Seager Mike Zunino to escape the jam.Ray pitched out of another bases-loaded jam in the fourth, leaving after allowing a run and five hits in five innings.Mariners starter Wade LeBlanc was coming off a shaky outing of his own, giving up five earned runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings of a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.The left-hander gave up the homer to Escobar in the first, but limited the Diamondbacks to three hits over the next four innings. He allowed a run and struck out six in six innings.HONORING MCCAINThe Diamondbacks paid tribute to John McCain by posting a picture of the Arizona Senator on the video board, drawing a standing ovation from the crowd. An avid sports fan and supporter of Arizona’s teams, McCain died on Saturday after battling brain cancer. He was 81.DIAZ’S DOMINANCEThe Mariners are still in the mix for the AL West title at 5 1/2 games behind Houston and are four games behind Oakland in the wild-card race. Diaz is a big reason for it.The left-hander broke Eric Gagne’s single-season record with his 25th save in a one-run game and the Mariners are 59-0 when he enters a game with the lead.TRAINER’S ROOMMariners: LHP James Paxton (bruised left forearm) will throw a bullpen Tuesday and likely be slotted back into the rotation next weekend against Oakland.UP NEXTDiamondbacks RHP Zack Greinke is 5-1 with a 2.24 ERA in 12 career games (10 starts) against Seattle heading into Sunday. RHP Mike Leake will pitch for the Mariners after missing his previous turn with an illness.
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