Red-hot Texas sweeps Minnesota

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- The Texas Rangers got a look at their past as well as their future.

Veteran slugger Juan Gonzalez homered twice, including a three-run shot in the first inning, and rookies Mark Teixeira and Laynce Nix made key plays as the Rangers beat the stumbling Minnesota Twins 9-4 to complete a three-game sweep Thursday night.

Michael Young added a three-run homer and Teixeira also connected for Texas, which hit four home runs. The Rangers have won four in a row, six of seven and 11 of 16.

"That's Rangers baseball, four homers," Teixeira said. "(Gonzalez) is on a tear. He can carry a team when he's swinging the bat like he is."

The Twins have lost five straight and 12 of 17.

Texas starter John Thomson (6-9) allowed two runs and eight hits over seven innings. He struck out four and walked two.

Gonzalez hit a solo homer in the fourth, his 23rd.

Late last month, the Rangers tried to send Gonzalez to Montreal, but he exercised the no-trade clause in his contract. The Rangers are still attempting to deal Gonzalez to open up playing time for their young outfielders, and he's making himself attractive to contenders with five homers in his last six games.

Gonzalez refused interview requests after his 47th career multihomer game, his fourth this season. He has 428 homers, moving past Billy Williams for 31st place on the career list.

The Twins saw enough of Gonzalez during the series.

"Juan's swinging as good as we've seen him," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's not missing anything."

Teixeira went 2-for-4 and made several outstanding defensive plays at first base. Nix singled and scored in his major league debut and played strong defense in center field.

"I like having the young guys in the lineup," Young said. "They're contributing to us winning games. We got a total team effort."

Minnesota starter Rick Reed (4-9) gave up three homers, seven runs and eight hits over 4 1/3 innings.

The Rangers greeted Reed with first-inning singles by Young and Hank Blalock. Two outs later, Gonzalez hit the first pitch from Reed into the left-field seats to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead.

Gardenhire was upset about a potential double play that didn't get turned in the first by shortstop Cristian Guzman. Alex Rodriguez beat Guzman's throw to first, and Gonzalez later took advantage with his two-out, three-run homer.

Gardenhire said he'll bench Guzman and start either Denny Hocking or Chris Gomez at shortstop in the three-game series at Anaheim that begins Friday night.

"We expect him to be ready to play and he wasn't so we're going to sit him down," Gardenhire said. "We've talked to him about it, and he said he's going to work his butt off. We expect certain things out of him. We can use him if we have to, but we're going to give him a chance to watch a few games."

Minnesota took advantage of Blalock's throwing error at third base for a third-inning run on Doug Mientkiewicz's single.

Gonzalez's homer in the fourth made it 4-1. The Twins reduced the deficit to 4-2 in the fifth on Torii Hunter's RBI groundout.

Texas stretched its lead to 7-2 in the fifth when Nix singled for his first major league hit, Einar Diaz singled and Young hit his ninth homer.

In the sixth, Teixeira's leadoff homer, his 13th, and Diaz's sacrifice fly made it 9-2.

Minnesota made it 9-4 in the eighth on Luis Rivas' double-play grounder and Hocking's RBI single.

Game notes
Nix, called up from Double-A Frisco on Wednesday, made a leaping catch on the warning track in the first inning. ... Hunter will miss Friday night's game at Anaheim to attend the funeral of his high school baseball coach, Billy Bock, in Pine Bluff, Ark. ... The Rangers reacquired utility man Jermaine Clark from San Diego for future considerations and assigned him to Triple-A Oklahoma. Clark started the season with the Rangers, was designated for assignment April 26 and claimed off waivers by the Padres on April 30. Speedy Clark was hitting .250 with 15 stolen bases in 50 games for Triple-A Portland. ... RHP R.A. Dickey comes out of the bullpen for his first major league start for the Rangers on Friday night against Kansas City. Dickey will be Texas' 13th starter this season. ... Of Gonzalez's 47 multihomer games, 44 have featured two homers. ... The Twins have allowed 27 homers in their last 10 games. ... Texas SS Rodriguez had gone 33 straight games without an error before he booted a grounder in the eighth.