Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Twins 9, Rangers 8
By Randy Jennings
ARLINGTON, Texas -- So many times a season ago, Neftali Feliz was automatic in similar situations.
But needing three outs and protecting an on-run lead against Minnesota, the Rangers' closer could retire only one of the five batters he faced.
Minnesota scored twice in the ninth and stunned the Rangers, 9-8, Tuesday night at Rangers Ballpark.
Feliz (0-2), seeking his 21st save, retired Danny Valencia on a routine grounder to short to open the ninth.
But Delmon Young singled and Jim Thome delivered a pinch-hit double off the wall in left.
With runners and second and third and the infield in, shortstop Elvis Andrus committed an error on Tsuyoshi Nishioka's tapper up the middle. With or without the error, Young was going to score the tying run on the play.
A second pinch-hitter, Joe Mauer, put the Twins ahead with an RBI double to left-center.
Both runs charged to Feliz were earned.
With the loss, Texas' lead in the American League West dropped to three games over the Angels.
* Texas threatened in the bottom of the ninth, putting two on with one out. But Joe Nathan struck out Mitch Moreland and pinch-hitter David Murphy to end the game.
* With Yorvit Torrealba hitless in nine at-bats, manager Ron Washington rested his catcher for two days. Back in the lineup on Tuesday, Torrealba stroked a three-run home run in the fourth inning to snap a 3-3 tie. It was Torrealba’s fourth home run of the season and his first since April 25. He added a two-out RBI single in the fifth after the Twins had crept to within 7-6 and finished 3-for-4. Defensively, Torrealba was called on to make a couple of tag plays at the plate and executed flawlessly.
* Moreland rifled two balls to right in his first two at bats. One went for an RBI double. He only got a single on the next one because it got out to the wall so quickly. Moreland made an alert defensive play and an accurate throw to the plate to get Young, who tried to score from third on a ground ball. He also made a diving stab on a ball laced by Michael Cuddyer in the ninth.
* C.J. Wilson took a 7-3 lead to the mound in the fifth and looked well on his way to his 11th victory. But the Rangers' ace walked three straight batters then gave up a two-run single to Valencia. Ron Washington came out with the hook and Wilson was on his way to an early shower.
Wilson, who allowed the Angels only two hits in complete-game 1-0 loss in his last outing, gave up five in the second inning to the Twins. He was charged with six runs, five earned, in his shortest outing of the season. The only other time he allowed five earned runs in a game was a 7-2 loss to Oakland on May 9.
* Nelson Cruz is picking a great time to get hot. With Adrian Beltre out with a hamstring problem, Cruz is picking up the slack. He was 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs on Tuesday and now has six hits in his last seven at-bats.
* The top three spots in the Rangers order were a combined 2-for-15. Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton each struck out twice.