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Blalock singles in winning run as Rangers edge Twins

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Hank Blalock makes his money as a power hitter, but on Sunday a 75-foot single was good enough for the Texas Rangers.

Blalock's pinch-hit infield single drove in the winning run in the ninth inning, giving the Rangers a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Phil Nevin had a one-out single in the ninth off Jesse Crain (9-4) and went to second when pinch-hitter David Dellucci walked.

Rod Barajas reached on catcher's interference to load the bases and Blalock, held out of the starting lineup by manager Buck Showalter because he was in a 13-for-63 slump, hit a dribbler on a 1-2 pitch that popped out of the glove of shortstop Jason Bartlett as Nevin crossed the plate.

"I got behind in the count and I was in a defensive mode," Blalock said. "I was just trying to put the ball in play and luckily it was soft enough. It doesn't matter what kind of hit -- a squibber, a double -- as long as we get the 'W'."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had his infield playing a little farther in than double-play depth, and Bartlett didn't have enough time to make a play.

"You're playing in between so if he hits the ball hard you have a chance to turn a double play," Gardenhire said. "But he hit a little topper that you're not going to be able to do much with."

The catcher's interference ruling turned out to be a key play, with Barajas' bat barely nicking the glove of Twins catcher Joe Mauer for an error.

"You'd love to get a hit in that situation, but loading the bases with Hank Blalock at the plate is a good option," Barajas said.

Doug Brocail (5-2) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.

Crain allowed one run and three hits in 1 1/3 innings.

Rangers starter Chris Young gave up three hits in seven shutout innings and left with a 1-0 advantage, but Texas' bullpen couldn't hold the lead.

The Twins tied it at 1-all in the eighth off Erasmo Ramirez when Bartlett singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on Mauer's single.

Young struck out six and walked two in a duel with reigning AL Cy Young winner Johan Santana.

Santana gave up one run and three hits in seven innings. He struck out six -- increasing his major-league leading total to 195 -- and walked three.

"I knew it was going to be a low-scoring game because of his track record," Young said.

Minnesota, which began the day 12th in the AL in runs, couldn't score after loading the bases with one out in the first as Young retired Matthew LeCroy and Jacque Jones on popups.

"It's been our Achilles' heel all year long," Gardenhire said. "We have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball and we just can't support them offensively."

Young retired 11 straight until Lew Ford led off the fifth with a double.

"(Young) teetered a bit in the first, then found his step," Showalter said. "He got better as the game went on. His best innings were his last two."

Santana set down eight consecutive Rangers from the second through the fifth before Texas broke through for a 1-0 lead on Michael Young's RBI single.

Barajas singled and went to second on Gary Matthews Jr.'s walk. Right fielder Jones fielded Young's single and fired toward the plate in an effort to cut down the slow-footed Barajas, but first baseman Justin Morneau cut off Jones' throw, had trouble getting the ball out of his glove, and his throw to the plate was too late.

Notes

  • The game started with temperatures in the low 90s after several days in triple-digits.
  • Hunter Wendelstedt was scheduled to be the third base umpire but bypassed the game to return to his home in New Orleans in anticipation of Hurricane Katrina. The game went on with three umpires.
  • Mark Teixeira of the Rangers went 0-for-3 to end his 12-game hitting streak.
  • Texas starters have a 1.00 ERA in the first six games of the current homestand and haven't allowed a run in 18 innings over the last three games.
  • The Twins have scored one run in four of Santana's last six starts.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Texas' Hank Blalock breaks his bat hitting the game-winning RBI single in the ninth inning. (AP)
Texas' Hank Blalock breaks his bat hitting the game-winning RBI single in the ninth inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

J. Santana
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 1
BB 3
K 6
Texas

C. Young
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 2
K 6
 
Minnesota Twins
Michael Ryan, LF3010011 .239
   a- Brent Abernathy, PH-LF0000000 .245
Nick Punto, 2B3000111 .241
Joe Mauer, C4011001 .298
Justin Morneau, 1B3000121 .240
Matthew LeCroy, DH4000013 .262
Jacque Jones, RF4000003 .255
Lew Ford, CF3020100 .260
Michael Cuddyer, 3B4000013 .253
Jason Bartlett, SS3110011 .260
Totals311513714 
a-hit a sacrifice bunt for Ryan in the 8th
Batting
2B - Lew Ford (24, C. Young)
SH - Brent Abernathy (3)
RBI - Joe Mauer (50)
2-OUT RBI - Joe Mauer (15)
SB - Joe Mauer (11, 2nd base off C. Young/Barajas)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Crain-Bartlett-Morneau
E - Joe Mauer (4, )
Minnesota Twins
Johan Santana 7311360 3.15
Jesse Crain (L,9-4) 1.1310200 2.54
Pitches-Strikes - Johan Santana 102-68, Jesse Crain 23-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johan Santana 7-8, Jesse Crain 2-1
Batters Faced - Johan Santana 27, Jesse Crain 9
Texas Rangers
Gary Matthews Jr., CF3010100 .264
Michael Young, SS4011011 .324
Mark Teixeira, 1B3000102 .283
Alfonso Soriano, 2B4000011 .281
Kevin Mench, LF4010000 .280
Phil Nevin, DH3110100 .247
Mark DeRosa, RF3000012 .226
   a- David Dellucci, PH0000100 .259
Rod Barajas, C2110100 .256
Marshall McDougall, 3B3000034 .154
   b- Hank Blalock, PH1011000 .277
Totals302625610 
a-walked for DeRosa in the 9th
b-singled for McDougall in the 9th
Batting
2B - Kevin Mench (32, Santana)
RBI - Michael Young (72), Hank Blalock (77)
2-OUT RBI - Michael Young (32)
Team LOB - 9
Texas Rangers
Chris Young 7300260 4.31
Erasmo Ramirez (BS,1) 1211000 5.79
Doug Brocail (W,5-2) 1000110 4.87
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Young 109-71, Erasmo Ramirez 12-9, Doug Brocail 23-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Young 4-11, Erasmo Ramirez 2-1, Doug Brocail 1-1
Batters Faced - Chris Young 26, Erasmo Ramirez 5, Doug Brocail 4
Game Information
Attendance - 20882
Game Time - 2:32
Temperature - 91
Umpires - Home - John Hirschbeck, First Base - Wally Bell, Second Base - UMP Nonindividual, Third Base - Lance Barksdale