Cuddyer bangs three-run homer to lead Twins over Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins scored a dozen runs, thanks in part to a trio of defensive miscues by the Rangers.

Michael Cuddyer hit a three-run homer and the Twins ended a three-game losing streak with a 12-6 victory over stumbling Texas on Saturday night.

The Rangers (8-17) have already set a franchise record for April defeats, and they continued their sloppy defensive play with three errors that led to five unearned runs. Texas also had a passed ball, and three Minnesota hits bounced off Texas gloves.

"You can lose two ways: the other team can play better, or you can beat yourself," said David Murphy, who had a career-high three RBIs for Texas. "You don't like giving freebies away. You give the other team an inch and they're going to make that inch go a long way."

The Twins, who started the night 13th in the AL in runs, had managed only 17 runs in their previous seven games before breaking out against the Rangers.

Minnesota rebounded following Friday night's 6-5 loss to Texas in 10 innings with a season-best 16 hits, 12 of them singles.

"It was a good bounce back after a tough one last night," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They made a couple of mistakes and we were able to take advantage of those. We were more consistent and patient in our at-bats."

Minnesota's lineup showed depth, with its 6 through 9 hitters going a combined 9-for-18 with six RBIs.

"The 3-4-5 hitters usually carry the offense," Minnesota's Mike Lamb said. "But they're not going to do it every day. It's important for the bottom of the lineup to pick up the slack. If we can contribute on a regular basis, this team will be very dangerous."

Texas, which has lost eight of its last nine, fell short of its third two-game winning streak of the season.

Rangers manager Ron Washington's job status remains in question, and another poor defensive effort won't enhance Washington's long-term future in Texas.

"It's physical mistakes," Washington said. "We wanted to play well and for five innings we did. But mistakes ended up costing us."

Delmon Young keyed a three-run seventh inning with a two-run single and Brendan Harris went 3-for-4 for the Twins.

With the game tied at 5, the Twins loaded the bases in the seventh against Jamey Wright (1-1) and ex-Twin Eddie Guardado. Young's two-run single off Franklyn German put the Twins in front, and Lamb followed with an RBI single to extend Minnesota's lead to 8-5.

Joe Mauer's RBI single in the eighth stretched the Twins' advantage to 9-5, and Cuddyer's three-run blast later in the inning put the game out of reach.

Dennys Reyes (1-0) allowed one hit in two-thirds of an inning for the win.

Sidney Ponson, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Oklahoma to make the start for Texas, lasted 5 1/3 innings in his first big-league appearance in almost a year. He allowed five runs -- one earned -- and seven hits.

Ponson, 1-2 with a 3.47 ERA at Oklahoma, last started on May 12, for Minnesota against Detroit.

Twins starter Scott Baker left the game in the fifth inning with a mild groin strain.

The Twins were trailing 4-2 when Gardenhire and a team trainer went to the mound to check on Baker. After talking with Baker, Gardenhire summoned right-hander Matt Guerrier from the bullpen.

Gardenhire said that with two off-days upcoming, Baker will have enough recovery time to make his next start on schedule.

"It wasn't getting any worse," Baker said. "But there was no point in pushing it."

Baker gave up five runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings, but the Twins scored three unearned runs in the sixth to tie it at 5 and take Baker off the hook for the loss.

Ponson's throwing error helped the Twins in the sixth.

"I threw the ball away and the momentum changed," Ponson said. "I'm not happy about it."

Game notes
Texas' Ian Kinsler has been on base in all 24 games this season, the longest current streak in the AL. It matches the third longest in franchise history. ... Josh Hamilton had three hits for Texas. ...Minnesota has won eight of its last 11 against Texas. ...The Rangers were without 3B Hank Blalock, who'll also miss Sunday's game with a strained left hamstring. Blalock injury himself running out a 10th-inning double on Friday night. Blalock said he will be reevaluated on Tuesday and if there's no improvement he could be headed for the 15-day DL. Vazquez started at 3B in place of Blalock. ... DH Milton Bradley (hamstring) was back in the Texas lineup after missing two games with a hamstring injury. ... To open a roster spot for Ponson, the Rangers sent RHP Kazuo Fukumori to Oklahoma. ... Twins RHP Bobby Korecky pitched the ninth in his big-league debut.