MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Texas Rangers started Sunday as the only team in the majors that hadn’t lost two games in a row this season.
That streak is over after Kevin Correia pitched eight sharp innings, Justin Morneau homered and the Minnesota Twins beat Texas 5-0.
The only runs the Rangers scored in the two losses came when Minnesota center fielder Aaron Hicks lost a two-out fly ball in the ninth inning in the sun Saturday.
“It’s hard to win when you don’t score any runs,” Texas catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “We really didn’t have a lot of opportunities.”
The Rangers’ best chance came when Elvis Andrus and Lance Berkman singled to open the fourth. Correia struck out Adrian Beltre and retired Pierzynski and Nelson Cruz on grounders.
“Getting balls hit to people right now,” Correia said. “Very easily, when you go out there and get balls put in play a lot like I do, sometimes those things can find a hole. Right now it’s just going my way.”
Texas closed out a 5-3 trip and ended a stretch in which they played 14 of 17 games on the road.
“The off-day is definitely needed,” manager Ron Washington said. “This is the big leagues. You can’t be complaining about the schedule. We’re not going to make any excuses.”
Before their two straight setbacks, the Rangers hadn’t lost at Minnesota since June 12, 2011. With Sunday’s loss, the Rangers were forced to settle for a split of the four-game series against the Twins.
Correia (3-1) gave up six hits, struck out two and walked one. He allowed only one runner to reach third base while lowering his ERA to 2.23.
Correia has pitched at least seven innings in each of his first five starts for the Twins after going seven or more only three times all of last season.
The soft-tossing veteran signed a two-year, $10 million contract with Minnesota in the offseason and has been the Twins’ best starter. Using a fastball that rarely broke 90 mph and a variety of offspeed pitches, Correia retired his first seven batters and set down 11 of the last 12.
Alexi Ogando (2-2) allowed three runs on four hits over six innings.
Ogando looked just as sharp as Correia before walking Josh Willingham in the sixth. On the very next pitch, Ogando hung a slider and Morneau lined it into the right-field bleachers for his second home run, giving the Twins a 3-0 lead.
“I had pretty good command of the pitches, I was being too careful, too cautious (against Willingham),” Ogando said through a translator.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected in the seventh after arguing with third base umpire Alfonso Marquez about a force play on a bunt.
Gardenhire kicked the dirt around home plate and angrily took off his sunglasses as he walked off the field to a standing ovation from the Target Field crowd.
The fans remained fired up after Jamey Carroll lined a single up the middle that scored Hicks and made it 4-0 immediately after the ejection.
Brian Dozier followed with another RBI single off Joe Ortiz, one of three relievers Texas used in the inning.
Mitch Moreland and Lenoys Martin each had two hits for Texas.
NOTES: Texas was shut out for the second time this season. The first was a 2-0 loss on April 10 at Tampa Bay. … At 49-25, the Rangers have the best April record in baseball since 2011. … Five of Ogando’s six starts this season have come on the road. … The Rangers are off Monday and host the White Sox on Tuesday. Yu Darvish is scheduled to start the series opener.