Chan Ho Park hopes he’s finally beginning to prove he deserves the big contract Texas gave him more than two years ago.
Park returned after more than three months on the disabled list Thursday, allowing two runs and four hits over six innings in an 8-3 win over the Twins. The victory was his first since May 12 and first at home since Sept. 12, 2002.
“It was great,” said Park, who had been on the DL since May 20 with a sore back. “I understand there has been a lot of disappointment from the fans. I had so much fun today.”
Park has won just 13 games and been on the DL five times since signing a $65 million, five-year contract with the Rangers before the 2002 season. The Korean right-hander was never on the DL in six full seasons with Los Angeles before coming to Texas.
“It was good for him to be able to smile,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said of Park. “It was something we wanted to see. He’s had a lot of negative crawling around him.”
Park threw 84 pitches, including 49 for strikes, struck out four and walked three. His fastball topped out at 94 mph, and was complemented by an effective breaking ball.
“His (curve) had great movement,” Texas catcher Rod Barajas said. “He didn’t hang many pitches and had control of all his stuff. It’s a huge confidence boost for him and for all of us.
“He’s always had the stuff. It’s a matter of putting it all together on a consistent basis.”
Mulholland wasn’t nearly as strong, allowing seven runs and nine hits in just 3 2-3 innings. The 41-year-old left-hander, who had posted a 3.56 ERA in eight starts coming in, threw 75 pitches.
“There’s not a whole lot to talk about except I wasn’t very good,” Mulholland said. “I made poor decisions on where to locate. My command wasn’t that bad.”
Torii Hunter hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the 11th Tuesday, leading the Twins to an 8-5 win over the Rangers. Hunter drove in a career-high six runs, and Justin Morneau added a homer and two RBIs for Minnesota, which maintained a seven-game lead over second-place Cleveland in the AL Central.
Alfonso Soriano and Barajas each had two RBIs for the Rangers, who fell 4 1/2 games behind Oakland in the AL West—the furthest out of first place they have been this season. Texas is four games back of Boston for the wild card.