But the past two days at Target Field, the Texas Rangers proved
they can win playing small-ball, too.
A double and two sacrifices in the top of the eighth inning provided
the edge the Rangers needed Thursday in a 5-4 win over the Minnesota
Texas won three of the four games in the series and are now 6-2 on
the first two legs of their season-long, 11-game road trip that
concludes this weekend with a three-game series against the
"We're playing good baseball," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
"I just want us to stay consistent and keep getting better."
With the score tied at 4 through seven innings, Rangers center
fielder Leonys Martin, like he did Wednesday in a 1-0 Texas win,
started the rally with a leadoff hit.
This time, it was a double off the wall in right field. He advanced
to third on a sacrifice bunt by catcher Robinson Chirinos and slid
in just ahead of a throw from shallow right-center field.
"He has to make a perfect throw to throw me out in that situation.
It's late in the game and we need that run," Martin said. "It's a
tight game, eighth inning, that situation you have to (tag up)."
Rangers right-hander Alexi Ogando, who pitched 1 1/3 innings of
scoreless relief, picked up the victory to improve to 2-2.
Twins right-hander Casey Fien, who entered the game at the start of
the eighth, took the loss, dropping to 3-2 this season.
Both starters labored through the early innings, with Samuel Deduno
loading the bases with nobody out in the second. He coaxed a popout
to second, got a strikeout and worked Rangers designated hitter
Shin-Soo Choo to a two-strike count before Choo dumped a double down
the left field line to clear the bases.
"(Deduno) made a good pitch. He just flipped it down the left-field
line," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That was a big three
Minnesota loaded the bases with nobody out in their half of the
inning against Texas right-hander Nick Martinez but grounded back to
the pitcher and lined into a 3-6 double play to end the threat.
"We had chances, plenty of people out there, just couldn't get a
hit," Gardenhire said.
Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said, "We're getting guys on, we
just can't get them in. That's the main focus."
The Twins did get on the board in the next inning with RBI singles
from third baseman Trevor Plouffe and designated hitter Josh
Willingham to make it 3-2.
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Willingham gave the Twins the lead in the fifth, hitting a long
two-run homer into the second deck above the bullpens in left field.
The 436-foot shot was his first home run of the season after he
missed 41 games with a fractured wrist.
Texas got even in the next half inning as Martin doubled and was
driven in by Chirinos on a single. The hit ended Deduno's day. He
went 5 1/3 innings, allowing nine hits, a walk and four earned runs.
Deduno also struck out two and got a no-decision.
Martinez, who went 5 2/3 innings, also got a no decision, allowing
four runs, nine hits and two walks with two strikeouts.
"It was a learning experience for him today to go out there and keep
his team in it when he doesn't have his best stuff," Washington
Texas closer Joakim Soria got the final two outs in the ninth,
working around a single by Twins outfielder Oswaldo Arcia, to close
out his 10th save.
NOTES: Rangers RF Alex Rios singled in his first at-bat Thursday,
extending his hitting streak to 12 games. ... Twins CF Aaron Hicks
came to the ballpark feeling better, but did not start Thursday
against the Texas Rangers. He missed Wednesday's game with lower
back spasms. ... Twins RHP Mike Pelfrey returned to the Twin Cities
from Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday after experiencing soreness in
his throwing shoulder. He was to have an MRI. ... Twins OF Sam Fuld
(concussion) will return to Minneapolis from Pittsburgh after
visiting with concussion specialist Dr. Mickey Collins. According to
Twins assistant GM Rob Antony, nothing was abnormal about the
findings during the visit. ... Rangers RHP Yu Darvish is still on
track to start Sunday against the Washington Nationals. He was a
late scratch from his scheduled start on Tuesday because of neck
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