Defense lets Rangers down for second straight game in 4-2 loss to Minnesota
Both were on display again Tuesday night, but it very well might be the last time they take the field together in the Metrodome as members of the Minnesota Twins.
Hunter drove in two runs to set his career high for a season, Silva threw six solid innings and the Twins again took advantage of shaky defense by Texas to beat the Rangers 4-2 on Tuesday night.
“It means a lot,” said Hunter, who will be a free agent this offseason and has made it clear that he will be exploring his options. “Coming into the season everybody had individual goals and one of my goals was to have 100 RBIs. But we have 11 games left and I’m not stopping.”
Silva gave up two runs and seven hits and struck out five. The right-hander will become a free agent this offseason.
A ninth-inning error cost Texas Monday’s series opener. On Tuesday, shortstop Michael Young made two of his three errors in an eventful third inning when the Twins took a 2-1 lead.
“The first one doesn’t bother me as much because it was a pretty tough play,” Young said. “But the next two were pretty basic.”
Nick Punto led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on Young’s throwing error.
Punto was thrown out at third during a rundown, but made the play entertaining. Trapped in no-man’s land between second and third after starting pitcher Kevin Millwood snatched Jason Bartlett’s chopper out of the air with his bare hand, Punto made several jukes and fakes that caused Millwood to fall.
The veteran right-hander managed to still get a throw off to third baseman Travis Metcalf for the out, but he remained on the ground for several seconds to hide his embarrassment. Bartlett made it to second.
“I know Nick from Philly,” Millwood said. “It was a fun play.”
The fun didn’t last long for the Rangers.
Jason Kubel followed with a grounder to Young, who threw it away for his second error of the inning, allowing Bartlett to score.
Hunter then drove in Kubel and set a career-high with his 103rd RBI. Hunter added another RBI with a double in the seventh that gave the Twins a 4-2 lead.
Joe Nathan worked the ninth for his 33rd save.
Young committed his third error trying to turn a double play in the sixth.
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the third on Ian Kinsler’s RBI groundout. Kinsler dropped a pop fly in the bottom of the ninth to cost his team the series opener against Minnesota.
“We didn’t put ourselves in real good situations tonight,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “When we were playing well, we put ourselves in good spots. Not tonight.”
Texas had a chance to take the lead in the sixth. With one run in and the bases loaded with one out, Silva (12-14) coaxed an inning-ending double play from Metcalf. He knelt on the mound and pumped his fist several times before heading to the dugout.
Was the possibility that this could be his final start in the Metrodome on his mind?
“It was. I don’t want to start thinking about it, but it was,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens. I’d love to play for this team forever. But if it’s not like that, you have to move on.”
Millwood (9-13) gave up four runs—two earned—and 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings.
Texas has 114 committed errors, the most since it had 117 in 2004.
Kubel had three hits for Minnesota while Joe Mauer added an RBI ground-rule double in the fifth.
Young had three hits for the Rangers and Jarrod Saltalamacchia had an RBI single in the sixth.
The Twins (74-77) improved to 6-10 in September and are hoping to finish the season over .500.
“That’s our goal,” Hunter said. “We got 11 games left and I think we can do it.”
Major League Baseball suspended Rangers starter Vicente Padilla for seven games for his role in Sunday’s bench-clearing brawl with Oakland. Padilla was ejected in the first inning after beaning Nick Swisher and setting off a brawl. Padilla will appeal the suspension and was scheduled to start Wednesday’s series finale. … Kinsler made a spectacular diving play on a ground ball up the middle in the second inning to rob Luis Rodriguez of a hit. … The Metrodome crowd gave Punto a loud ovation after his diving and darting caused Millwood to crumble to the ground during the third-inning rundown.