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Twins Strike Early, Hang On Late For 6-5 Victory

Michael Cuddyer and Denard Span each drove in a pair of runs and Minnesota survived a ninth-inning scare to take a 6-5 decision over Texas in the finale of a three-game series from Target Field.

Orlando Hudson and J.J. Hardy also collected an RBI each for the Twins, who swept the set from the AL West leaders and have won eight of their last 10 games.

Nick Blackburn (9-9) allowed six hits and two runs over seven solid innings, fanning four with three walks for Minnesota, which maintained its 3 1/2 game lead over Chicago in the AL Central after the White Sox topped Boston.

Matt Capps earned his ninth save despite allowing two runs to score and being charged with a run on three hits while recording the final out of the game.

“They’re a really good team. They took three out of four from us when we went to their place, a couple weeks ago,” said Hardy about the Rangers. "These weren’t easy games. Two of them were one-run ballgames. It was really nice to get out there and get that win today.

Matt Treanor drove in two while Julio Borbon, Cristian Guzman and Vladimir Guerrero added RBI hits in the ninth for the Rangers, who slid to their sixth loss in eight outings.

C.J. Wilson (14-6) was tagged in the loss for seven hits and six runs, striking out five but walking four over 5 1/3 frames.

Jon Rauch turned in a scoreless eighth but allowed an RBI double from Borbon with two down in the ninth and departed with a runner on second.

Capps was called upon but Guzman hit a run-scoring single for a 6-4 game. Young followed with a base hit and David Murphy walked to load the bases. Guerrero then sent a ball up the middle. It was fielded by Hudson behind second base and he threw to third behind Young, who was trying to go back to the base.

Although Guzman scored to make it a one-run game, Young was called out due to runners interference — incidental contact with Texas’ third-base coach — while rounding the bag.

“Who knows what (Nelson) Cruz would have done? Popped up, struck out, hit a triple? No one knows what would have happened with Cruz, but just to be given that opportunity would have been nice, see what happened,” said Texas infielder Ian Kinsler when asked what he thought might have occurred had the game not ended with the bizarre play.

Cudddyer’s two-run double in the first staked the Twins to the lead, then the Rangers countered in their next at-bat with a Treanor two-run single.

Minnesota got a run back in the home second as Hardy and Matt Tolbert both walked, Jason Repko beat out a bunt single and Span’s sacrifice fly plated the go-ahead run.

The home team put up three more runs in the sixth. Jason Kubel and Delmon Young stroked back-to-back singles then a Hardy hit plated one run. Repko walked two batters later to load the bases then Span also walked to force in a run and chase Wilson.

Michael Kirkman then allowed a sac fly from Hudson to make it 6-2 before retiring Joe Mauer on a fly out.

Blackburn finished his performance by sending the Rangers down in order in the sixth then working around a Guzman double in the seventh.

Game Notes

Minnesota won seven of the 10 meetings with Texas this season, including a perfect 6-0 mark at home…The Rangers announced Sunday that outfielder Josh Hamilton will be out for an undetermined period of time while recovering from a bruised left ribcage suffered on Saturday…Both clubs are in action on Monday as the Twins stay home to host Kansas City while the Rangers head to Toronto to start a four-game set.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.