Joe Mauer, Michael Cuddyer power Twins past Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Minnesota's Brian Duensing was coming off one of his worst outings of the season, and facing a Texas lineup that had already scored 28 runs in the first two games of the series.

Except, Duensing had an apparent advantage being a left-hander.

Duensing allowed only one run over 6 2/3 innings, Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer homered and the Twins beat the AL West-leading Rangers 7-2 on Wednesday night.

"Joe and I had a real good approach. We tried to keep 'em off-balance by going in hard and try to open up the outside corner," Duensing said. "My two-seamer was sinking pretty good. I established the fastball early, then used the changeup to keep them off balance."

In his previous start, Friday against Detroit, Duensing matched a season-high allowing seven runs to end his personal three-game winning streak. But he held the Rangers in check, with six strikeouts and a walk while scattering seven hits.

"Duensing did a super job for us, got us deep in the game," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Before their run-scoring barrage in the first two games against Minnesota and two right-handed starters, the Rangers had managed only four singles against Toronto left-hander Brett Cecil in a 3-0 loss Sunday night.

Colby Lewis (10-8) had won five consecutive decisions over seven starts. The right-hander has allowed an AL-high 26 homers after the solo shots by Mauer and Cuddyer.

Mauer's two-out homer in the first inning was his first in 54 games, dating to September. He spent two months on the disabled list this season. Cuddyer led off the fourth with his 15th homer.

"(Mauer) had a smile from ear to ear. He clicked on it pretty good. It made a good sound for us," Gardenhire said. "I know we were accused of hitting the ball soft, so we kind of made a statement to hit it harder today."

After Texas starter C.J. Wilson had his shortest outing of the season Tuesday night, he said he was "100 percent unlucky" and added the Twins beat him with "bloopers and bleeders" while never squaring up on the ball.

In the fifth inning Wednesday, Mauer and Cuddyer had consecutive RBI singles to put the Twins up 4-1.

Alexi Casilla had a two-out double, then scored on the single by Mauer, who advanced to second on left fielder Josh Hamilton's throw to the plate. Cuddyer then singled to center.

Lewis struck out five and walked two while allowing eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. His first loss since June 11 ended his career-best winning streak.

"Four runs, I'm not afraid of four runs. I figured we can get some runs on the board, it didn't happen," Washington said. "(Lewis) had a good fastball, he had a good breaking ball, he had all of his pitches good. ... I mean he got us into the seventh inning and we were still in the ballgame."

After giving up consecutive two-out singles to the bottom two batters in the lineup in the fifth, Duensing got out of that jam when Ian Kinsler took a called third strike.

Kinsler slammed his helmet down on the plate and had words with umpire Chris Guccione, drawing Washington out of the dugout as well. There were no ejections.

Elvis Andrus had a leadoff double in the fourth for Texas and scored on a groundout by Michael Young.

After leading off the sixth with a single, Andrus moved to second on a deep fly ball to center by Hamilton. But with Young at the plate, Andrus was thrown out trying to steal third base when catcher Mauer's throw beat him by several feet. Young then singled.

Joe Nathan was warming up in the Twins bullpen during the ninth in anticipation of what could have been his team-record 255th career save when Jason Kubel hit a three-run double that made it 7-1. Nathan, who tied Rich Aguilera for first place on the team list with his save Tuesday night, sat down almost as quickly as the bases cleared.

Game notes
Casilla came out in the ninth after coming up lame while running into second base on a double. "I felt like somebody threw a knife in that spot," he said. Gardenhire said an MRI is scheduled Thursday. ..... Minnesota has won five of seven against the Rangers this season. They wrap up the season series Thursday night. ... Twins 1B Justin Morneau bypassed rehab activities in Minnesota because he was still experiencing migraine headaches. Morneau, on the 15-day DL with a sprained right wrist, had cut short a workout Tuesday because of the headaches and is being monitored by team medical personnel. ... The Twins and Yankees are the only AL teams Lewis hasn't beaten in the regular season. Lewis did win twice against New York in last year's AL Championship Series. ... Washington was still finishing up his duties as the AL All-Star manager. On a table in his office were 16 dozen baseballs MLB sent him to sign. The balls were already signed by the rest of the All-Stars in Arizona two weeks ago. ... The Rangers went over 2 million in attendance in their 55th home game.