Joakim Soria blew his first save of the season Tuesday as Minnesota scored twice with two outs in the ninth to beat the Rangers 4-3 in a game they were without ace Yu Darvish.
Emergency starter Scott Baker allowed two runs in six innings, and Chris Gimenez had delivered another key hit to put the Rangers in position for their fourth straight win.
After the Rangers failed to get Alex Rios home from third after his leadoff triple in ninth, Joakim Soria nearly yielded the game-tying homer to Oswaldo Arcia with one out, but came back to get Josh Willingham for the second out.
But Eduardo Nunez ripped a single to right, and Arcia scored easily to tie the game and Nunez moved to second on Rios’ wide throw home.
The next batter Kurt Suzuki hit an grounder to third baseman Adrian Beltre, who attempted to tag Nunez as he came to third. Nunez, though, was called safe even though he had strayed well out of the base line to successfully avoid Beltre’s tag.
After the Rangers walked Eduardo Escobar, Daniel Santana hit a tapper back to Soria, who bobbled it for an error that allowed the winning run to score.
The Rangers backed Baker early with a two-run second, though more damage could have been had. Donnie Murphy’s drive to center was headed for a three-run homer, but Aaron Hicks’ leaping catch turned it into a sacrifice fly.
Arcia started the Twins’ second with a homer to right-center, and Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer had back-to-back two-out doubles in the third to tie it.
Those were the only three hits allowed by Baker, who allowed six runs Friday at Detroit and was working on three days’ rest. He left after six innings with the lead courtesy of a Gimenez two-out single that scored Mitch Moreland, whose popup to left to start the inning was botched in left field.
Alexi Ogando got the biggest out of the game to that point in the eighth, with the tying run at third and the go-ahead run at first and the Twins’ best hitter, Joe Mauer up. Ogando, though, caught Mauer looking at the third strike.
The Rangers were on the cusp of adding a key insurance run after Rios led off the ninth with a triple. But Twins closer Glen Perkins got Gimenez and Leonys Martin on grounder to short with the infield drawn in, and Murphy flied out to the warning track in center.