Six-run rally in 8th inning helps Rangers defeat Twins
08/23/2012 11:49 PM
03/24/2013 1:08 AM
ARLINGTON -- A familiar refrain the past two seasons from the Texas Rangers' clubhouse has been a warning to the media that August, even late August, is too early to watch the out-of-town scoreboard.
But the media hasn't obeyed and has continued to ask if the Rangers are aware of their place in the AL West standings and how well the teams giving chase have fared.
Such was the case Thursday night, with the Rangers' nearest rival playing in the Eastern Time Zone and the score from that game plainly visible in left field.
Second-place Oakland lost at Tampa Bay. A Rangers victory would provide another game of cushion, even if it is only August.
The Rangers took advantage, scoring six times in the eighth inning en route to a 10-6 victory over Minnesota that pushed their division lead to six games.
"Our focus is on what's in front of us right now," said manager Ron Washington, who won the 500th game of his career. "We've just got to take care of us. If we can win, we're in good shape. We feel good once we know if maybe they lost."
Mitch Moreland, in the game because Michael Young had to leave for the birth of his third son, doubled home the go-ahead run in the eighth, and an error, a walk, an infield hit and a single led to five more.
Those five were unearned.
Josh Hamilton had two RBIs in the rally and drove in five overall to take the major league lead in RBIs at 107. He also plated the Rangers' first three runs, and Adrian Beltre hit another homer a night after swatting three in a win over Baltimore.
Beltre also doubled to start the eighth and went to third as Nelson Cruz reached on an error. Moreland followed with a drive into the gap in left-center field.
"I was able to get into a good hitter's count, 2-0, and got a pitch up in the zone and drove it to left," said Moreland, who had five RBIs on Wednesday. "It was a big inning for us. AB got it all started with the first knock, and we went from there."
The rally made a winner of Mike Adams (3-3), the third pitcher used in relief of starter Roy Oswalt. The right-hander again left a spot start in a huff after being removed before he thought he should have been lifted.
Minnesota scored a run in the first on a double by Joe Mauer, but the Rangers quickly countered in the bottom of the inning. Ian Kinsler walked and went to second on an Elvis Andrus single, and both scored as Hamilton followed with a double off the wall in left-center.
The Twins added an unearned run in the third as Oswalt snared a grounder back to the mound but didn't execute a rundown properly. His gaffe forced a high throw home from Beltre, who was tagged with an error as Minnesota pulled even at 2-2.
But the Rangers were back in front again in the fifth as Hamilton drove home Kinsler with a sacrifice fly and Beltre followed with his fourth homer in two games.
Oswalt and Michael Kirkman, though, couldn't hold the lead. Minnesota opened the sixth with consecutive singles against Oswalt, who then retired Jamey Carroll on a sacrifice bunt.
Washington went to Kirkman with a switch-hitter and three left-handed batters coming. But the lefty got only one out, an RBI groundout by Pedro Florimon. Denard Span followed with a single that tied the game.
Oswalt, just like Saturday, wasn't pleased as he left the field or sat in the dugout as Kirkman allowed two inherited runners to score. But the two hits he allowed after being handed a 4-2 lead also bugged him.
"Everybody wants to stay out there. Who says they want out of a game?" Oswalt said. "I was more upset about giving the two hits up, especially the first hit. The second hit, not too bad."
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760
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