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Rapid Reaction: Twins 7, Rangers 2

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers offense couldn't get the key hits when needed and lefty Brian Duensing did an excellent job with his command and changing speeds, going 6 2/3 innings. The Rangers pounded a lot of balls into the ground off him. Some quick reaction (more to come from the clubhouse):

* The loss drops the Rangers' lead to two games in the AL West (thanks to an assist from Ervin Santana, who threw a no-hitter for LAA). That's the closest the Angels have been to Texas since after games on July 14, the first day of the second half when the Rangers had a 1.5-game lead.

* Colby Lewis surrendered a first-inning home run to Joe Mauer on Wednesday, Mauer's first of the season. It was the 25th home run allowed by Lewis, which leads the AL.

* Lewis' slider wasn't where he wanted it to Michael Cuddyer to lead off the fourth and the first baseman sent it out to left-center. That put Lewis' homer total at 26. The silver lining: 18 of those homers are solo shots.

* Lewis had trouble getting the final out of the fifth inning. Looking for a shutdown inning after the Rangers scored in the fourth, Lewis gave up a two-out double to Alexi Casilla. That was followed by a single to left by Mauer. Josh Hamilton tried to throw home to get Casilla and the throw was just a little late. Mauer went to second on the throw and scored on Cuddyer's single. The inning ended when the throw home to get Mauer was cut off and Cuddyer was thrown out at second.

* Aggressive baserunning has helped the Rangers this season. But it has to be smart aggression. Elvis Andrus made a good, aggressive move by tagging up from first on a deep fly ball to center by Hamilton in the sixth with Texas down 4-1. That put a runner at second with no outs for Michael Young. But then Andrus tried to steal third. The throw was there well before Andrus arrived and he was an easy out. That was not the kind of move you want to see with Young -- second on the club with 71 RBIs -- at the plate. The caught stealing ended any hopes of a rally that inning.

* Having productive at-bats -- even if they are outs -- matters. It's something hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh has stressed (Clint Hurdle came in and talked about it his first day here last year) since his arrival. The Rangers did that in the fourth inning. Andrus led off with a double in the fourth and then moved over to third on Hamilton's ground ball to the right side and came home on Michael Young's grounder. It put the Rangers on the board.

* Ian Kinsler came up in a big moment in the fifth. With runners at second and third and two outs (Rangers down 4-1), Kinsler struck out looking on a sinker that he thought was inside (he moved his legs slightly, but it was called a strike). He argued briefly as did third-base coach Dave Anderson. That got manager Ron Washington out of the dugout to try to protect both of them and argue it. No one was thrown out, but everyone was unhappy. The strikeout for Duensing got him out of his biggest jam of the game to that point.

* Kinsler's next at-bat was yet another two-out opportunity with a runner in scoring position. This time, it was runners at first and second and he grounded out in two pitches against reliever Matt Capps. Kinsler is now 9-for-43 (.209) with runners in scoring position and two outs this season.

* One inning after his baserunning blunder, Andrus made a defensive gem. He backhanded a very tough hop off the bat of Mauer and threw to first to get the final out of the seventh inning.

* Craig Gentry normally plays in center against lefties instead of Endy Chavez. But with Gentry still feeling the effects of that hard slide into second on Sunday, Chavez got the call. Statistically, the Rangers are better off with Chavez in there despite the fact that he's a left-handed hitter and Gentry is a righty. Chavez had two hits off lefty Duensing on Wednesday. He's now 12-for-24 (.500) against lefties this season. Chavez also had a nice catch to end the sixth, sprinting to get a ball after Kinsler fell down.

* Darren Oliver came in with two outs in the seventh and got left-handed hitter Mauer to ground out (on that good play by Andrus). He got two of the next three hitters on strikeouts and left with two outs in the eighth and a runner on first as Mark Lowe came in to face right-handed hitting Danny Valencia. He surrendered a hit but got Delmon Young to end the inning with no damage done.

* In the ninth, Michael Young charged a soft chopper at third base and couldn't quite get the ball from his glove to his hand cleanly on the tough play. But he was given an error. That loaded the bases with two outs and Jason Kubel cleared them with a double to deep right-center. All three runs were unearned, giving the Rangers 52 allowed this season. They had 51 unearned runs allowed in all of 2010.

* Lowe allowed the runs, though if Young makes that play the inning is over with no damage done. Yoshi Tateyama came in and, after walking Valencia on a close pitch, got Jason Repko on a strikeout to end the inning with bases loaded.

* The Rangers had 35,950 at the park on Wednesday and moved past the 2 million mark in attendance. They did it on the 55th home date, the earliest they've hit 2 million since 2001 (also 55). The only other seasons to reach the 2 million mark in 55 dates or fewer were: 1994 (50), 1997 (53) and 1998 (55). The Rangers have now had at least 2 million fans attend home games in 15 of the last 16 seasons (and 20 of the last 22 years starting in 1989).