MINNEAPOLIS -- For the second night in a row, the Minnesota Twins
ran into a tough pitching performance against the Texas Rangers
as starter Justin Grimm
quieted Twins' bats for seven innings. The Twins hung around long enough to tap the Rangers' bullpen for three runs in the ninth, but it was not enough and the Rangers won 4-3 at Target Field on Friday.
Grimm pitched shutout ball for his seven innings, allowing just five hits and no walks and striking out four. Although two Minnesota runners reached third base early on, Grimm was in control of the game from the start.
"His performance was outstanding," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Good pop on his fastball. He had a real good breaking ball; he kept the balls down in the zone. Stayed off the fat part of their bats -- and moved it around. He did a good job of working his way through that lineup."
Grimm got plenty of help from his offense, which put up double-digit hits for the second game in a row. The Rangers banged out 13 hits and could have put up more runs with some better base running, as two Rangers were tagged out at home.
In his second start of the season, Twins lefty Scott Diamond allowed 12 hits with no walks and four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. He gave up a big hit in the sixth to Adrian Beltre, who launched a 419-foot bomb over the center-field fence to increase the Rangers' two-run lead to 3-0. In the ninth, Ian Kinsler hit the sixth double of the game for the Rangers, driving in the team's fourth run.
"We got behind early and it was an uphill battle all night," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Scotty gave up a lot of pitches but never really broke too much. He hung in there and got deep enough into the game."
Grimm handed the game to his bullpen in the eighth, and Tanner Scheppers retired three straight Twins batters. But in the ninth, Josh Willingham hit a leadoff double off reliever Joe Ortiz, and Justin Morneau followed with a single. Ortiz got Chris Parmelee on a disputed third strike call and then rookie Oswaldo Arcia cleared the bases with a three-run homer to right - his second since being called up on April 15.
"We stayed after it and got some big hits late there," Gardenhire said. "Arcia puts one in the seats. But we end up losing by a run again. The guys kept playing. You tip your hat to the guys who are doing that. Unfortunately we got behind again and we ended up losing the game."
Former Twins closer Joe Nathan got Ryan Doumit to fly out to end the Twins' threat and the game, recording his eighth save of the season in eight opportunities.
"It's never easy," said Washington. "A 2-0 lead is nothing. A 3-0 lead is nothing. You see what would happen if Beltre doesn't come up with that home run. You got to try to pour it on and you have to stay focused as a pitcher and continue to execute pitches."
The Rangers scored two runs in the first on doubles by Elvis Andrus, Lance Berkman and Nelson Cruz, who has 13 RBIs in the past six games.
Diamond, who gave up seven hits in the first three innings, got some excellent support from his defense. Joe Mauer tagged out two runners at home, and Pedro Florimon made two great stops at short that kept the Rangers off the board in the second and third.
"We made some good (defensive plays), but we also had a snowball fight out there where the ball was going all over the place," Gardenhire said. "That's not the kind of stuff you like to see. The effort was there, they were playing hard, but some crazy things happened out there early in the game. Fortunately it didn't hurt us too awful bad. But we did miss some plays and we have to do better than that."
NOTES: Game-time temperature was 71 degrees -- a Minnesota heat wave -- and the Rangers are now 12-3 when the temperature is 60 degrees or higher. ... Coming into the game, the Rangers had struck out 124 times -- the fewest in baseball. The Twins are third with 133 Ks. ... The Twins were coming off their first loss in a one-run game. They were 5-1 (.833) in one-run games, which is the highest percentage in baseball.
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