Rangers fall to Twins as Wilson, Feliz falter

Posted Tuesday, Jul. 26, 2011  comments  Print Reprints
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ARLINGTON -- Starting pitching has carried the Texas Rangers since July 4, when they opened their most successful stretch of the 2011 season.

The bullpen hasn't been too big of a factor, mainly because the seven relievers haven't been needed much.

Tuesday night ranked as an exception on both fronts. C.J. Wilson failed to retire any of the four hitters he faced in the fifth, and was removed from the game.

A five-inning load was placed on the bullpen. Three of the four relievers summoned by manager Ron Washington did just enough to keep the Rangers in the lead, but the most reliable bullpen piece couldn't close out a victory.

Neftali Feliz surrendered two runs in the ninth inning as Minnesota completed a comeback bid it had started four innings earlier against Wilson and won 9-8.

Joe Mauer delivered a go-ahead pinch-hit single in the ninth to give the Twins the lead after they had trailed 7-3 entering the fifth inning. Feliz, who was called upon to protect an 8-7 lead, recorded only one out as he blew his fifth save of the season.

"It felt like one we could have had," Washington said. "We had the ball in the hands of the person we wanted to have it in. We'll give him the ball again."

The Twins' rally spoiled another big night by the Rangers' offense. Yorvit Torrealba homered and drove in four runs, and Nelson Cruz went 3 for 3 with two RBI doubles as the Rangers collected 13 hits for their baseball-best 52nd game with at least 10.

Wilson wasn't as sharp as he has been from the start. The Twins scored three times against him in the second for a 3-0 lead, but the Rangers stormed back.

Cruz and Mitch Moreland delivered back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the inning after Michael Young led off with a single to trim the Rangers' deficit to one.

They sent nine batters to the plate in a five-run fourth, an inning that included Torrealba's first home run since April 25. Elvis Andrus' two-out single made it 7-3.

A four-run lead with Wilson pitching would seem like a good bet for a victory, but the left-hander walked the first three Twins in the fifth and allowed a two-run single to Danny Valencia.

That was it for Wilson. Tommy Hunter entered and allowed one of the two runners to score.

The third run in the inning was charged to Wilson, who allowed six runs (five earned) in four-plus innings. It was his shortest outing of the season and the shortest by a Rangers starter since Derek Holland lasted only two-thirds of an inning July 3.

"C.J. just couldn't find the strike zone," said Washington, who felt like the Rangers were on their way to a win after the fourth.

"Last night everything went our way," Wilson said of the Rangers' 20-6 victory Monday. "Tonight things didn't go our way. It's as simple as that."

Cruz's second RBI double, in the fifth, gave the Rangers an 8-6 lead, but Minnesota scored with two outs against Hunter in the sixth. Yoshinori Tateyama and Darren Oliver held Minnesota in check in the seventh and eighth, and Feliz entered for his 21st save.

He got Valencia on the first pitch of the ninth, but didn't retire another hitter. Delmon Young followed with a single, and pinch hitter Jim Thome bounced a double off the left-field wall to put runners at second and third.

Feliz dominated the next hitter, but Tsuyoshi Nishioka hit a weak chopper over the mound that resulted in an error on Andrus and allowed the tying run to score.

Mauer, the former AL MVP, dumped a fastball into left field to score pinch runner Jason Repko.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

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