MLB

Twins' bullpen can't hold off Rangers in extras

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)

Minnesota used six pitchers to again subdue the Texas Rangers' offense for nine innings Saturday night.

Unfortunately for the Twins, they couldn't do it in extra innings.

Nelson Cruz hit an RBI double off reliever Kyle Waldrop (0-1) in the 10th inning that scored Adrian Beltre to lead the Rangers to a 4-3 victory that snapped their five-game losing streak.

''Cruz swung the bat well,'' manager Ron Washington said. ''We were due to finally put together something offensively.

Texas' Josh Hamilton had a home run, walk and a run scored as the designated hitter one night after leaving in the fifth inning with back spasms.

Samuel Deduno, the 11th pitcher to start a game for Minnesota this season, gave up three runs including two home runs, on six hits in his big league starting debut. He had three strikeouts and walked three.

His biggest mistake was a slider up in the zone that Beltre smacked into the left-field seats that tied the game at 3-3 in the sixth.

''He fought through some innings,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ''I thought he threw some really nice breaking balls. He just hung the slider to Beltre.

''Against those guys if you throw too many strikes, they will absolutely kill you.''

The Rangers, still statistically the best offense in the majors, haven't been hitting the ball well at all recently, having scored only nine runs during their five-game skid.

Cruz finished 3 for 5 with two doubles and two RBIs, and Beltre, too was 3 for 5 as the Rangers improved to 41-5 the past two years in games in which Beltre has homered.

Joe Nathan (1-2) pitched scoreless ninth and 10th innings for the Rangers, his longest outing in almost three years after ligament replacement surgery, in relief of Derek Holland, who returned from a stint on the disabled list with left shoulder fatigue.

Holland gave up three runs on six hits, two walks and four strikeouts over six innings.

The Rangers moved Cruz out of his customary No. 6 slot in the lineup and up to No. 5, though manager Ron Washington told reporters before the game that the shuffle was more coincidental than anything.

Young initially had been penciled into the No. 3 spot of Hamilton, who wasn't expected to play.

Washington said he just decided to leave Cruz, who has struggled all season, at No. 5.

''I'm not going to pat myself on the back,'' Washington said. ''It just came off my pen that way.''

Said Cruz: ''I don't see any difference. When the games starts, everybody's first and third (in the order). There's no other way to see it.''

Trevor Plouffe, Ryan Doumit and Josh Willingham each drove in runs for the Twins, who took a one-run lead on Willingham's solo homer in the sixth.

The Rangers, who are 3 for 17 with runners in scoring position in this series, had a few chances to go ahead late, but couldn't capitalize. They loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, but Beltre grounded out to end the inning.

In the eighth, David Murphy walked and stole second with two outs, followed by a walk to Mike Napoli. But Craig Gentry popped out to short center field handled by Twins shortstop Brian Dozier. The Rangers are 2 for 16 with runners in scoring position in the series, including 1 for 8 on Saturday.

The Twins put runners on first and second in the seventh after one-out walks to Joe Mauer and Willingham, but Robbie Ross induced Justin Morneau to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

The Twins rank last in the major leagues in strikeouts and near the bottom in ERA, batting average allowed, hits and innings pitched.

Deduno got his chance on Saturday and impressed his manager to some degree. What's next for him won't be decided until after the All-Star break.

''No one has told me anything,'' Deduno said about the team's plans for him. ''But I want to stay here.''

Notes: Hamilton became the first Rangers player to record at least 27 home runs and 75 RBIs before the All-Star break and first major leaguer to do so since Albert Pujols in 2009. Alex Rodriguez was the last American League player to reach those marks in 2007. ... The Rangers optioned right-handed pitcher Justin Grimm to Double-A Frisco to make room for Holland. Grimm went 1-1 with a 10.80 ERA in three games with the team, including two starts. ... Home plate umpire Marty Foster left the game in the top of the seventh after apparently becoming sick. Second base umpire Jeff Kellogg took over behind the plate for the short crew. ... Ross extended his scoreless innings streak to 22 1/3 after recording an out in the seventh and pitching the eighth. Ross is in position to post the lowest ERA (0.96) through the All-Star break since 1933, eclipsing Bob Gibson's 1.06 in 1968. The lowest rookie figure is 1.78, recorded by Detroit's Mark Fidrych in 1976.

Tagged: Twins, Rangers, Adrian Beltre, Josh Willingham, Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Derek Holland

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