MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander A.J. Griffin threw six strong innings in his return from the 60-day disabled list and was backed by a three-run homer from Joey Gallo to lift the Rangers to a 4-1 win over the Twins on Thursday night at Target Field.
"We got a win on Wednesday night, to stack another win on top of it, obviously we need that right now," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "We need to put some wins together. Just a tremendous start by A.J. Griffin."
Griffin, who had been out since May 26 with a left intercostal strain, allowed one run on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts. It was his first win since May 9. The lone run he allowed came on an RBI double from Byron Buxton in the third.
"We've been having a bit of a lull offensively," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "There are some guys searching right now. We didn't really hit many balls hard tonight. It was just a matter of hitting a lot of balls in the air."
Griffin out-pitched Twins rookie left-hander Adalberto Mejia, who lasted four innings, surrendering four runs on seven hits and three walks. Mejia gave up a run in the first on an RBI single to Nomar Mazara before serving up Gallo's three-run home run in the fourth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Gallo goes deep on 1-2: Gallo's three-run home run in the fourth inning was his 29th of the season, but just his sixth off a left-hander. It was also just the second time this season Gallo has hit a home run on a 1-2 pitch. He struck out on a 1-2 pitch from Mejia in the second inning. Mike Napoli scored on the home run, having reached base on a one-out double after left fielder Eddie Rosario couldn't make a sliding catch of his fly ball down the line.
"Whether it's a home run or a strikeout, I'm just trying to put the bat on the ball," Gallo said. "I got pretty lucky -- if that pitch had been a few inches off the plate, it would have been a different story."
Mazara delivers against lefty: Mazara's first-inning single drove home Delino DeShields and was his first RBI off a left-hander since June 20. It also ended Mazara's 0-for-22 skid against left-handed pitching.
"The first inning, I couldn't get a grip on the ball," Mejia said. "I think the weather was too cold for me and my hand was kind of numb. But after that, I was able to get more control of the ball."
"I had the first-day-of-school jitters. Little excited, a little nervous. It was good to get back out there." -- Griffin
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Long reliever Dillon Gee became the 30th pitcher used by the Twins this season, which set a franchise record. Gee, who threw three-plus scoreless innings, was previously designated by assignment by the Rangers on June 16, and refused his Minor League assignment on June 19.
"I felt good," Gee said. "I came into the game trying to keep it close and give us a chance. And for the most part, I was able to do that." More >
WHAT'S NEXT Rangers:Martin Perez pitches against the Twins at 7:10 p.m. CT Friday at Target Field. Perez is 0-3 with an 8.31 ERA in his last three starts. He is also 1-3 with a 4.62 ERA in seven starts on the road and 0-2 with a 3.32 ERA in three career starts against the Twins.
Twins: Veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon (2-9, 7.70 ERA) starts for the Twins against the Rangers on Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Colon is coming off his best start with the Twins, allowing three runs over 6 1/3 innings against the A's.