Twins shut out mighty Rangers offense

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—The mighty Texas offense rolled into Friday night’s game against Minnesota with one player on a 25-game hitting streak and another coming off a jaw-dropping 28-dinger round in the Home Run Derby.

It’s no wonder Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton and the rest of these Rangers are the only team left in the majors not to be shutout.

Make that were.

Glen Perkins pitched six shutout innings in the Twins’ 6-0 victory on Friday night, the first time the Rangers have been blanked since Aug. 19 of last season.

“We’re always flat when we come from a day off,” said Hamilton, who was the toast of All-Star weekend for his power display in the derby on Monday night. “If you look back on the whole season, I’m not sure how many times we’ve won on the days coming back from a day off.”

The last time Texas was shut out, former Twins ace Johan Santana fanned 17 Rangers at the Metrodome. This time it was a blossoming rookie left-hander who entered spring training just hoping to get a spot in the bullpen.

Perkins (7-2) allowed just three hits to a Rangers team that entered the game leading the majors in most offensive categories, including batting average, runs, hits, slugging percentage and total bases.

Perkins wasn’t particularly sharp, but was able to keep his composure and dance around the heavy hitters at the top of the Rangers order.

“He was effectively wild,” Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson said. “He wasn’t as sharp as he has been, but he kept coming at them.”

Kinsler’s 25-game hit streak came to an end with an 0-for-4 night, Hamilton went 0-for-4 and Hank Blalock was 0-for-2 with a walk in his first game since April 25.

So was Hamilton—the feel-good story of the summer for his comeback from drug addiction—a little tired after all the attention he received for the most memorable second-place finish in Home Run Derby history?

“No. Just went home two days ago,” Hamilton said. “I spent a couple days there. We’ll be all right. We’ll just come back and get them tomorrow.”

Delmon Young tied a career high by going 4-for-4 with an RBI, even though only one of those hits got out of the infield on the fly.

That’s how these small-ball Twins operate. They are last in the AL in home runs, but first in the majors in hitting with runners in scoring position at .311.

“We find different ways to win games. We’re not going to come out there and hit three-run home runs every inning,” Young said. “You just go out and collect hit after hit. If you can string together at least three singles, that’s at least good for one run.”

Minnesota broke the game open in trademark fashion with four runs on five singles in the seventh inning to chase Kevin Millwood (6-6).

Jason Kubel and Brian Buscher each had two hits and two RBIs for the Twins, who got shutout innings in relief from Craig Breslow, Jesse Crain and Boof Bonser.

Perkins hasn’t lost a decision since May 30 against the Yankees and is one of the big reasons why Francisco Liriano remains stuck in Triple-A Rochester.

“I’ve had a lot of fun with it,” Perkins said. “It’s just being able to help the team and get the team wins is what I’m trying to do and that’s why I’ve been successful as a starter so far.”

Liriano’s agent has asked the union to investigate why his client has not been called up yet despite dominating hitters for the past six weeks. But with Perkins and fellow young starters Kevin Slowey, Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn pitching so well, the Twins are having trouble finding a spot for him in the rotation.

The Rangers would love to have that problem. Their bullpen leads the major leagues in innings pitched, averaging nearly four per game over their previous 24 outings.

Millwood had a solid outing through six innings, the first time he’s made it that deep in five starts. But he only managed one out in the seventh as the Twins got a two-run single from Kubel and RBI singles from Young and Buscher in the inning.


Rangers SS Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a first-inning single. … Hamilton played in RF with Marlon Byrd in CF. … Twins INF Nick Punto was scheduled to have a cortisone shot in his strained left ring finger. Manager Ron Gardenhire said he would sit out the next two games to see how it takes and could be available on Sunday. If it doesn’t do the trick, Punto could be headed to the disabled list.

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