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Correia sharp again as Twins shut out Rangers

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins used strong starting pitching and timely hitting to gain a split of their home series with the Texas Rangers on Sunday at Target Field.

Twins starter Kevin Correia threw eight shutout innings, giving up six hits with a walk and two strikeouts in Sunday's 5-0 win. Correia's longest outing of the season resulted in his third win.

"Nice win for us today," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Another well-pitched game by Kevin. Unbelievable. His success is about throwing it over the plate and getting ahead in the count. He was trying to do that pretty much all game.

Correia was nearly matched by Rangers starter Alexi Ogando, who pitched six innings and gave up three runs, four hits and two walks and had three strikeouts.

Ogando avoided the mistake made by Saturday's Texas starter, Derek Holland, who left a pitch up that Josh Willingham hit out of the park. Instead, Ogando made the mistake with Justin Morneau.

"(Holland) had been throwing Morneau those breaking balls but he hadn't been throwing them for strikes, and he tried to get one over for the first pitch and he was sitting on it and didn't miss it."

It was a pivotal play in the game. Willingham, who received a Silver Slugger Award for the 2102 season before the game, walked for the second time in the sixth inning and scored when Morneau hit his second home run of the season into the right field seats.

"He's been working really hard and they have been pitching him one way," Gardenhire said. "He's working on standing on the ball and using the whole field. And I said by doing that, he's going to be able to pop a baseball into the seats here. He was trying to change the way they were throwing to him and I think they did. They threw a breaking ball trying to come in and he put it in the seats."

The Rangers' bats were quiet for a second game in a row after racking up double-digit hits in the first two games of the series. Texas scored eight runs in the four games.

"We just couldn't get anything going against Correia," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We had some opportunities early, we some in the middle of the game, we just couldn't get a base hit at the right time to make a difference. He went eight innings and shut us down."

The Twins began the seventh with two singles off Rangers reliever Joe Ortiz. Eduardo Escobar laid down a bunt and Oswaldo Arcia was forced out at third. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire argued the call and was ejected from the game (the 63rd time in his career).

Minnesota responded. Jamey Carroll hit a pitch up the middle and scored Aaron Hicks. Brian Dozier knocked in another run to make the score 5-0 and put the game out of reach.

Ogando and Correia stifled the hitters early on. But the Twins manufactured a run in the fourth on a Willingham walk, a single by Morneau moving Willingham to third and then Chris Parmelee scoring him on a sacrifice fly to center for a 1-0 lead.

Both teams ran themselves out of potential scoring chances with aggressive base running -- Carroll was thrown out by center fielder Leonys Martin trying to take third on Brian Dozier's single.

And the Rangers' Mitch Moreland thought about taking second base when Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks misplayed his fly ball, but he thought too long and was tagged out trying to get back to first -- the eighth out on the base-paths by the Rangers in the series. For the Twins' outfielders, it was the fifth straight game with an assist.

"Mitch misread the ball and thought that Hicks had missed it, and he made a base-running mistake," Washington said. "That's a base-running mistake, that wasn't (being) aggressive right there. I am going take aggressive outs, but that was a base-running mistake, and if you play the game long enough sometimes you are going to make a mistake."

NOTES: Rangers pitchers held Joe Mauer, a .323 lifetime hitter, to 0 for 15 in the four games of the series. ... The Twins' bullpen posted the fifth-best ERA in baseball at 2.52 in 20 games -- their seven walks allowed since April 13 are the fewest in baseball. ... Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler stole third base on April 27 for career stolen base 160 -- one shy of the all-time team record, held by Bump Wills (161). ... Texas has 12 doubles in the first three games of the series, including a season-high six on April 26.
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