Rangers 14, Twins 4

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—The Texas Rangers are quickly making up for their early season struggles at the plate.

Gerald Laird hit his first career grand slam in an eight-run fifth inning and the Rangers beat the Minnesota Twins 14-4 Monday night.

Laird, who was batting .098 on April 23, finished with a career-high five RBIs, and Sammy Sosa had two doubles and three RBIs for the Rangers. Laird went 2-for-3 to improve his average to .240.

Texas scored 10 or more runs in consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 14-15, 2004, against Oakland.

Rangers manager Ron Washington passed the credit for the recent offensive revival to hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo.

“These guys like to bang,” Washington said. “Rudy deserves all the credit for that. He spends a lot of time with these guys. He’s always believed in them and it’s starting to pay off.”

The Rangers equaled a season high for runs in a 14-1 rout of the Houston Astros on Sunday, then matched that total against the Twins. They entered play 13th in the AL with a .248 team batting average.

“We haven’t gotten off to the start we wanted, but it’s only May,” Laird said. “There’s time for us to step up. I think this is the start of something good.”

Frank Catalanotto and Nelson Cruz also homered for Texas, which got at least one hit from all nine starters. Catalanotto was activated from 15-day disabled list earlier Monday after missing time with tendinitis in his right biceps.

Rangers starter Vicente Padilla (2-6) gave up two runs and five hits before exiting with two outs in the sixth after Mike Redmond’s line-drive single glanced off Padilla’s right hand.

Padilla, who struck out four and walked two, wasn’t seriously injured.

Texas led 4-2 before it chased Twins starter Carlos Silva (2-5) during its highest scoring inning of the season. Kenny Lofton led off the fifth with a single and Mark Teixeira was intentionally walked with one out to put runners on first and second. Sosa then hit a two-run double.

Catalanotto and Ian Kinsler walked with two outs and Laird’s second homer of the season off reliever Julio DePaula gave Texas a 10-2 lead.

“There was a chance to break the game open and (DePaula) left a pitch up,” Laird said.

Ramon Vazquez scored on shortstop Nick Punto’s scoring error, and Michael Young also singled in a run for the Rangers.

Silva allowed seven runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings. DePaula gave up seven runs and six hits in one inning.

“We didn’t pitch,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “If you don’t pitch, you’re not going to win. Silva left too many pitches up in the zone and DePaula had a hard time.”

In the sixth, Cruz’s solo homer and Vazquez’s sacrifice fly stretched Texas’ lead to 14-2.

Minnesota’s bullpen, already missing left-hander Dennys Reyes with a sore left shoulder, took another hit in the eighth when left-hander Glen Perkins left the game after straining a muscle in his left shoulder while striking out Catalanotto.

Gardenhire said Perkins will be placed on the disabled list Tuesday. Reyes won’t be put on the disabled list, but he won’t be available for the next few days while he tries to strengthen his left rotator cuff through exercise. Right-handed reliever Jesse Crain will have season-ending surgery next Tuesday for a right shoulder injury.

“We’re going to have to find some pitching,” Gardenhire said.

Notes

Texas scored 14 or more runs in consecutive games for the fourth time in club history. The last time was on July 31-Aug. 31, 2002, against the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. … The start of the game was delayed for 28 minutes due to rain. … Sosa remains three home runs short of 600 for his career. … The Twins have lost nine of their last 12. … Texas has two grand slams this season. … The Rangers have won three of their last four. … Silva has lost his last four starts. … The Rangers sent infielder Travis Metcalf back to Double-A Frisco.

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