ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Brian Duensing got off to a shaky start and never recovered. It was just the latest poor performance in a long list of lackluster outings for the Minnesota Twins’ rotation.
Duensing yielded Ian Kinsler’s leadoff homer in the first and Mitch Moreland’s long three-run homer in the second inning of Saturday’s 9-3 loss to Ryan Dempster and the Texas Rangers.
“The bottom line is the starting pitching didn’t work out for us again.” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “These guys are swinging the bats well from top to bottom. You have to be pretty good out there on the mound.”
Duensing (3-9) gave up a career-worst nine runs in 2 1-3 innings as Minnesota lost its fifth in a row. The Twins’ starters have a 5.59 ERA this season, the worst mark in the American League.
The Twins dropped to 1-8 this season against the Rangers, who have scored 39 runs during their four-game winning streak.
Kinsler also had a bases-loaded triple in the third that made it 9-0.
“It started right from the get go,” Gardenhire said. “They pounded away and put us in a deep hole.”
Dempster allowed two runs in six innings while improving to 3-1 since he was acquired from the Cubs on July 31. He was 5-5 with Chicago.
After two shaky outings in his first three starts with Texas, Dempster has yielded just three runs in 14 innings over his last two starts. He struck out seven and walked two to beat the Twins for the second time this season.
“They’ve been doing that a lot for everybody, getting four or five runs in an inning,” Dempster said . “The game plan is still the same. But you have a little leeway when one run is not going to change the game.”
The Rangers got 14 hits. The only Texas player without one was Adrian Beltre, who went 0 for 4 a day after hitting for the cycle.
“We’re swinging the bat pretty well,” Moreland said. “One through nine, there are no breaks.”
Justin Morneau went 4 for 4 with a home run for Minnesota, which has lost 14 of 16 overall. Cole De Vries will take the mound Sunday as the Twins look to avoid a four-game sweep.
“We just have to keep playing,” Duensing said. “We have to fight for our teammates and hope to turn this around.”
Duensing was coming off one of his best outings of the season, holding Oakland to two runs in six innings on Monday. But the left-hander got off to a rough start when Kinsler drove his third pitch into the seats in left. It was Kinsler’s 25th career leadoff homer.
Nelson Cruz added an RBI double in the first to make it 2-0.
Moreland’s 463-foot drive in the second inning was the third-longest shot at the Rangers’ stadium. Josh Hamilton hit the longest, a 490-foot drive in 2010.
“It was a fastball that went flat and he got it,” Duensing said.
Morneau’s 17th homer of the season in the fourth was the first homer by Minnesota since Aug. 17.
NOTES: RHP Scott Feldman is scheduled to start for Texas on Sunday. … Texas
RHP Yu Darvish, who missed his last start with tightness in his right
quadriceps, threw a 30-pitch bullpen session and took fielding practice
before the game. He will throw again in the bullpen Sunday ahead of his
scheduled start Tuesday against Tampa Bay. … Twins LF Josh Willingham
was back in the lineup after missing two games with a stiff neck. …
Rangers manager Ron Washington said RHP Koji Uehara (strained right lat)
may come off the disabled list Sunday if he has no setbacks after
throwing a scoreless inning of relief for Triple-A Round Rock. . Ben
Revere became the fourth player in Twins history with consecutive
30-stolen base seasons.