ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—With Ron Washington’s job possibly on the line, the Texas Rangers needed to make an emphatic statement.
David Murphy’s game-winning single in the 10th inning was just what they needed.
Murphy’s hit set off a much needed celebration as Texas beat the Minnesota Twins 6-5 on Friday night, snapping the Rangers’ seven-game losing streak.
Hank Blalock hit a one-out double against Juan Rincon (2-1). With two outs and the outfield pulled in, Murphy hit a fly ball to the warning track in left-center field. Pinch-runner German Duran crossed home plate with the winning run, and Murphy was mobbed on the field by his teammates.
Washington, whose job status has been in question with the Rangers (8-16) already setting a franchise mark for April losses, pumped his fist in the air and searched for high-fives in the Rangers dugout.
Not bad for a game the Twins led 5-0 in the middle of the third.
“To come up with that win, to win an extra-inning game and to come back all in the same game, that’s the kind of game you need to get out of a losing streak,” Murphy said.
Murphy said the team had a players-only meeting before the game.
“We instilled some of that confidence we came out of spring training with,” he said. “We weren’t cocky but we were confident. We had that right kind of swagger.
“Over the course of the last week, there were times when we would get down early and stay down. Tonight there was nobody who wasn’t confident.”
Justin Morneau, who has battered Texas pitching, drove in all of the Twins’ runs with a third-inning grand slam and an RBI single in the first. Carlos Gomez bunted for a hit to begin each of those innings.
During the last three seasons, Morneau is hitting .373 (25-for-67) against Texas, with seven home runs and 23 RBI in 19 games.
“I’ve always had a good experience here in the warm weather,” Morneau said. “If you just get the ball up to right, it’ll go here.”
Washington said he told his players not to get down on themselves when they fell behind by five.
“When they came in to the dugout I told them, ‘There’s still a lot of ballgame. Let’s get a couple now and the rest later,”’ he said.
The Rangers listened, coming up with seven consecutive hits to tie the game in the bottom of the third. Josh Hamilton had a two-run single, but Texas ran itself out of the inning when Hank Blalock was thrown out at home trying to score on a double by Jason Botts. Blalock had no choice, because Botts was headed for third on the play.
“Bottsy was just trying to be aggressive,” Washington said.
Joaquin Benoit (2-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.
Gomez (strained left calf muscle) and Blalock (strained right hamstring) left the game because of injuries. … Blackburn entered the game with an ERA of 2.49, which swelled to 3.45. Millwood’s ERA rose from 2.52 to 3.32. … Minnesota has lost three in a row. … The Twins had won seven of their previous eight games against Texas, dating back to last May. … OF Milton Bradley (hamstring) sat out for the second consecutive game, but Washington said Bradley would be back in the lineup Saturday.