Once the Texas starter was gone, Jones twice came up big for the Twins.
Jones scored the tying run after a pinch-hit double in the ninth inning and hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the 11th Saturday to give the Twins a 7-2 victory over the Texas Rangers that stopped a three-game losing streak.
"Kenny Rogers is not the guy he likes to face very often, so we sat him out. But he was ready to play," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We've lost a lot of people, and Jacque is one guy who needs to step up. ... Hopefully that's a good start for him to get on a roll."
Over his previous 14 games, Jones had hit just .145 (8-for-55). Plus, he was 0-for-14 in his career off the Rangers' 40-year-old left-hander.
"You almost know he's going to break out, that he's going to come up with huge hits for us," said Joe Nathan, who worked two scoreless innings for the victory. "No matter how he's swinging the bat, at any moment he can put a good stroke on the ball and do what he did."
Jones, who has a home in the Dallas area, left the clubhouse before reporters were allowed in after the game.
Rogers pitched six scoreless innings in his first start at home since serving a 13-game suspension for shoving two TV cameramen. He had lost three straight starts on the road since being reinstated, and has made six starts since his last victory July 16.
Nathan (6-3) overcame a leadoff double in the ninth, and hasn't allowed a run in 17 innings over 15 appearances since the All-Star break.
After Justin Morneau drew a leadoff walk in the 11th and advanced on Lew Ford's sacrifice bunt, Jones hit his 19th homer off Brian Shouse (2-2). Nick Punto added an RBI single and pinch-hitter Michael Ryan hit a two-run single off Steve Karsay.
The Twins, who lost the series opener 6-0 Friday night, remained 4½ games back in the AL wild-card chase after the New York Yankees rallied past Kansas City on Saturday.
"Every game is huge right now, especially for us," Nathan said. "We're the ones chasing. It's almost like we have to win when they win and we have to win when they lose. It doesn't leave us too much room for error."
Minnesota tied the game 2-all in the ninth when Jones doubled against closer Francisco Cordero and scored on Terry Tiffee's single. Tiffee got to third on a throwing error by right fielder Kevin Mench, but was stranded after a squeeze bunt rolled foul.
Mike Redmond went down to his knees to bunt the ball, but it went foul as Tiffee crossed the plate. Redmond struck out on the next pitch and Jason Bartlett, who finished with a career-high four hits, flied out.
Gary Matthews Jr. ended an 0-for-21 slump when he blooped a ball into short left for a leadoff double in the ninth against Nathan, who retired the next three batters and then worked a scoreless 10th.
Mench's RBI single in the eighth gave Texas a 2-1 lead. Mark Teixeira, who had reached on a fielder's choice, scored from second on the single up the middle.
Rogers got 14 of his 18 outs on groundballs, including a pair of double plays the three-time Gold Glove pitcher started. He allowed six hits and walked one while throwing 95 pitches in the game that started with the temperature at 95 degrees, and reached 100 before he left.
Twins starter Brad Radke allowed one run and five hits over six innings. He left after 90 pitches.
"Two veteran pitchers surviving the heat," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "Kenny and Radke gave their clubs everything they had. That was impressive."
Texas took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Matthews scored on David Dellucci's sacrifice fly. Minnesota got even in the seventh on Bartlett's RBI single, his third hit.
Michael Cuddyer, the first batter faced by reliever John Wasdin, led off the seventh with a single. After avoiding a double play by beating third baseman Hank Blalock's throw to second base, he moved to third on another groundout before scoring on Bartlett's hit.
- Teixeira extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the fourth inning.
- The Twins No. 2-5 hitters are a combined 3-for-33 in the Texas series, and just 9-for-73 (.123) the last five games. The only two hits Saturday were two singles by Joe Mauer , who was the designated hitter.
- It was the seventh blown save for Cordero.