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, Grimm was in control of the game from the start.
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.
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 blast to right. But former Twins closer Joe Nathan got Aaron Hicks to fly out, recording his eighth save of the season in eight opportunities.
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.
The Twins' only threat came in the bottom of the first when Mauer reached on an error and Morneau doubled to left. But Grimm gave up little else, surrendering three hits on 73 pitches in five innings.
NOTES: Game-time temperature was 71 degrees -- a Minnesota heat wave -- and the Rangers are 11-3 when the temperature is 60 degrees or higher. ... Coming into the game, the Rangers had struck out 124 times -- the least number 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.