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Twins set first-half home run record, rout Rangers

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Jorge Polanco,Nelson Cruz
Minnesota Twins Jorge Polanco (right) and Nelson Cruz celebrate Polanco's solo home run off Texas Rangers pitcher Adrian Sampson during the second.inning of a game Friday in Minneapolis.
Jim Mone | AP

Back home from their first losing road trip of the season, the Minnesota Twins put their record-setting power on display.

All-Star shortstop Jorge Polanco homered on his 26th birthday, Martin Perez held his former team scoreless until the seventh inning and Minnesota routed the Texas Rangers 15-6 on a drizzly Friday night at Target Field.

Polanco and rookie Luis Arraez went deep in a six-run second. Jonathan Schoop and Mitch Garver also connected to give the Twins a major league-record 165 home runs before the All-Star break — surpassing the 161 hit by the Yankees last year. Minnesota finished the entire 2018 season with 166 long balls.

"It's something special, something to be proud of," said Schoop, who went 3 for 5 with four RBIs.

That wasn't Minnesota's only impressive feat at the plate Friday night.

In the second, they slugged six extra-base hits in an inning for the first time in 53 years and only the second since the club moved to Minnesota in 1961. It also happened on June 9, 1966, when the team hit five homers and a double in the seventh against the Kansas City A's.

The 13 extra-base hits for the game tied a club record set earlier this season. And the nine doubles tied a franchise mark dating to June 9, 1934, when the Twins were still the Washington Senators. Minnesota had a season-high 20 hits, and its 15 runs matched the most the Rangers allowed in a game this year.

"I just think we made a lot of mistakes," Texas manager Chris Woodward said. "Up in the zone and middle of the plate is not a good recipe to keep that offense from scoring runs."

Perez (8-3), who signed with Minnesota last winter after spending his first seven seasons with Texas, took a four-hit shutout into the seventh, again relying on the cut fastball that has been so effective for him this season.

"It was a big game for me, and special for me to win," Perez said.

But he couldn't get an out in the seventh, giving up a walk and three consecutive hits for two runs before leaving to a standing ovation from the announced sellout crowd of 38,073. Ryne Harper allowed both inherited runners to score, the second on Shin-Soo Choo's two-run homer.

"I know he had a lot of success early on and a lot of teams hadn't seen that cutter," Woodward said about Perez. "I thought he did a pretty good job of attacking the strike zone. He's always had the good two-seamer. Adding that cutter, they kind of play off one another. It keeps you from squaring up a lot of balls."

Minnesota entered the game after going 7-10 since June 6. A 2-4 trip to Chicago and Oakland cut its AL Central lead — as large as 11 1/2 games in early June — to six games, the smallest margin since May 20. But the Twins wasted little time staking Perez to a big cushion, batting around in the second and stringing together eight hits off starter Adrian Simpson (6-6).