Minnesota peppers Drese for 13 hits

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Ryan Drese was doing exactly what he
wanted to do. The Texas sinkerballer was keeping the ball down,
coaxing grounders.

And Minnesota still kept getting hits -- 13 off Drese in just 3
2-3 innings, the right-hander's shortest outing of the season. That
helped the AL Central-leading Twins build an early lead in an 8-5
victory Wednesday night.

"Early in the game off Drese, we really didn't hit the ball
very hard," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We hit a lot of
choppers, blooped and blopped them. He was throwing sinkers, we
were beating them in the ground and running around the bases."

Only one Minnesota starter didn't have a hit the first two
innings, when the Twins already had 10 hits and a 6-2 lead. They
had four infield singles and a bloop to left while scoring twice on
grounders and then on Drese's errant pickoff throw.

"I had the worst luck of my life tonight," Drese said. "I
never at any level of baseball in my entire life experienced
anything like this. I made some good pitches, got some weak
grounders, but they got hits on every single one."

The 13 hits were a career high allowed by Drese, and just one
shy of the team record. His career-best winning streak was snapped
at four and his home ERA, which was the best in the AL, jumped from
2.17 to 2.78.

"Drese kept competing, even after an unfortunate couple of
innings," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "He's a groundball
pitcher and he was getting groundballs. That's why it was so

No. 9 hitter Luis Rivas had a double and triple off Drese, then
homered against Carlos Almanzar leading off the eighth. Lew Ford
went 3-for-5, a triple and two singles off Drese.

Justin Morneau, back in the starting lineup after missing two
games with a swollen hand, drove in runs with a groundout and a
single the first two innings. His solo homer in the fourth made it
7-3 and was the last run off Drese.

Minnesota, which finished with 17 hits, maintained its
eight-game division lead, while Texas lost for the third time in
four games since an eight-game winning streak and dropped two games
behind Boston in the wild-card race. The Rangers have 70 wins, just
one shy of their total last season.

Kyle Lohse (7-10) allowed five runs and eight hits in five

"I've been there before, it's good to be on the other side,"
Lohse said. "Everybody was swinging the bat. We scored more than
them, that's the bottom line."

Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 35th save in 38 chances,
escaping a bases-loaded jam when Laynce Nix hit a game-ending
flyout to deep center.

The Twins started the game with three straight singles,
including Jacque Jones' infield hit that deflected off Drese and
Torii Hunter when the ball dribbled only a few feet down the
third-base line after he took a full swing.

"We didn't hit too many balls hard," Jones said. "We hit
enough balls and put them in enough spots and scored enough runs."

Morneau's groundout pushed home the first run, and Ford followed
with a slow roller to shortstop for an RBI single. Hunter scored on
the throwing error by Drese, and Corey Koskie's RBI double made it

"I don't believe in the term cheap hits," Rangers shortstop
Michael Young said. "If that happened for us, we would have taken

Hank Blalock hit his 28th homer in the bottom of the first, a
two-run drive. It was his fourth homer over a six-game stretch in
which he has hit .435 (10-for-23).

R.A. Dickey allowed just one hit while retiring 10 of 11 batters
in 3 1-3 innings after taking over for Drese.

David Dellucci, in the leadoff spot for Texas for the first
time, went 4-for-5 with an RBI single in the fourth. It was
Dellucci's fifth four-hit game and second this season. Young set a
career high with his 15th homer, a solo shot in the third.

Game notes
Koskie has a 13-game hitting streak, matching a career high
that he's reached two other times. He's hitting .375 in the latest
streak. ... The only Twins starter without a hit was Henry Blanco,
who was 0-for-5 and is hitting just .138 (8-for-58) the last 21
games. ... Dellucci has reached base in 26 of 53 plate appearances
his last 12 starts.