Minnesota at Texas

Final 12th
W: D. Nippert (1-0) L: B. Duensing (0-1)
HR: MIN - N. Punto (1)   TEX - I. Kinsler (21), I. Kinsler (22)

Kinsler homers twice, second for walk-off win in 12th

CBSSports.com wire reports

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ian Kinsler got the Texas Rangers started with a home run, then ended the game with another long ball in the 12th inning.

The bookend homers by Kinsler, between his three strikeouts, gave the Rangers a 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday night to snap a four-game losing streak.

"I knew it had a chance. I was just hoping for a little gust of wind to get it over the fence," Kinsler said. "We needed to get that win."

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who set up earlier runs with the first two sacrifice bunts of his career, led off the 12th with a single off Brian Duensing (0-1) and was bunted to second by Elvis Andrus. R.A. Dickey then took over for the Twins, and instead of floating another knuckleball left a 1-2 fastball over the plate.

"It's not good, no possible way that should happen and it did," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

"Of course I regret it. It was on me," Dickey said. "It was poor. The pitch rested in my hand and I threw the wrong pitch. I cost us this one."

Dustin Nippert (1-0) got out of a two-on, one-out jam in the 11th and had a 1-2-3 12th after four other relievers had already combined for six scoreless innings. C.J. Wilson struck out four in two perfect innings before giving way to Nippert.

"Those guys continued to grind all night," manager Ron Washington said. "We executed fundamentals, scratched some runs, tied the game and then took it. ... They know how bad we needed it and they fought for us. This could be the game to get us back on track."

The win kept the Rangers, who led the AL West by as many as 5½ games at the end of May, within a three games of the division-leading Los Angeles Angels. And it prevented Seattle from matching them for second place.

Kinsler put the Rangers up 1-0 when he hit his sixth leadoff homer of the season, and the 11th of his career to extend his own team record. He became the first player in Texas history to hit a leadoff homer and end the game with a homer, the team said, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau.

After the leadoff homer, Kinsler struck out his next three at-bats, including the last outs of the fifth and seventh innings. Kinsler grounded out to start the 10th.

Marlon Byrd had leadoff singles and scored in the fifth and seventh innings to tie the game at 3-3, moved to third both times on Saltalamacchia's bunts.

A passed ball by All-Star catcher Joe Mauer, who appeared to be crossed up by starter Francisco Liriano, allowed Byrd to score in the fifth. Byrd came home with the tying run two innings later on Andrus' sac fly.

Mauer was 0 for 6 to drop his batting average from .367 to .358 and lose the major league lead. Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki went 3 for 4 Sunday and is now hitting .363.

Nick Punto had his first homer of the season among his three hits for the Twins, who missed a chance to gain ground in the AL Central after Detroit and the Chicago White Sox both lost earlier Sunday.

Punto entered the game with a .203 average, and the light-hitting shortstop hadn't hit a homer in 371 at-bats since Aug. 4. His one-out solo shot in the third off rookie left-hander Derek Holland barely cleared the 14-foot wall in left field to tie the game 1-1.

Minnesota loaded the bases an inning later and went ahead 3-1 when Denard Span had a sacrifice fly and Alexi Casilla followed with an RBI single.


  • Liriano struck out six before leaving with no outs in the seventh.
  • Umpires used video replay at Rangers Ballpark for the first time, taking a homer away from Andruw Jones in the fourth. Jones pulled a pitch down the left-field line, but even he apparently knew the ball was foul. He trotted around the bases only after third base umpire Brian O'Nora gave a late signal for a home run. Gardenhire immediately charged out of the dugout to argue.
  • Twins 3B Joe Crede sat out with a sprained right shoulder. He got hurt making a diving catch Friday, but started Saturday before coming out with he felt "tingling" in his right hand.
  • Texas LHP Matt Harrison, out since May 26 because of left shoulder inflammation, threw about 67 pitches to live hitters Sunday. It was his second throwing session in four days. He will likely begin a rehab assignment Wednesday and could be back the first week of August.
Copyright 2017 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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He gets lost in the scrum, but Ian Kinsler's walk-off homer sets off a celebration in Arlington. (AP)
He gets lost in the scrum, but Ian Kinsler's walk-off homer sets off a celebration in Arlington. (AP)

Players of the Game

I. Kinsler
AB 6
R 2
H 2
HR 2

N. Punto
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1

Related Video

April 21, 2017
This weekend in baseball: AL Central (1:19)
Minnesota Twins
Denard Span, LF-CF4001123 .283
Alexi Casilla, 2B5011111 .176
Joe Mauer, C6000022 .358
Justin Morneau, 1B4000210 .313
Michael Cuddyer, RF5000024 .268
Brendan Harris, 3B-SS5010020 .272
Delmon Young, DH4120111 .270
Carlos Gomez, CF3100021 .244
   a- Jason Kubel, PH-LF0000100 .312
Nick Punto, SS4131000 .215
   b- Brian Buscher, PH-3B1000002 .208
a-walked for Gomez in the 11th
b-popped out for Punto in the 11th
HR - Nick Punto (1, Holland)
SF - Denard Span (3)
RBI - Denard Span (32), Alexi Casilla (6), Nick Punto (17)
2-OUT RBI - Alexi Casilla (3)
Team LOB - 10
DP - Punto
PB - Joe Mauer (3)
Minnesota Twins
Francisco Liriano 6532361 5.33
Bobby Keppel (BS,1) 1.2000110 0.56
Jose Mijares 0.1000010 1.82
Matt Guerrier 2200000 2.28
Brian Duensing (L,0-1) 1.1111020 5.54
R.A. Dickey0111001 3.42
Pitches-Strikes - Francisco Liriano 90-51, Bobby Keppel 17-10, Jose Mijares 3-3, Matt Guerrier 25-16, Brian Duensing 16-12, R.A. Dickey 6-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Francisco Liriano 3-8, Bobby Keppel 2-2, Matt Guerrier 4-2, Brian Duensing 2-0
Batters Faced - Francisco Liriano 25, Bobby Keppel 6, Jose Mijares 1, Matt Guerrier 8, Brian Duensing 5, R.A. Dickey 1
Texas Rangers
Ian Kinsler, 2B6223032 .251
Michael Young, 3B4010110 .306
Josh Hamilton, DH5000012 .242
Andruw Jones, RF3000201 .229
Hank Blalock, 1B5000032 .251
Marlon Byrd, CF5220000 .283
David Murphy, LF4030110 .279
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C3110002 .241
Elvis Andrus, SS3001012 .252
2B - David Murphy (11, Guerrier)
HR - Ian Kinsler 2 (22, Liriano, Dickey)
SF - Elvis Andrus (2)
SH - Jarrod Saltalamacchia 2 (2), Elvis Andrus (6)
RBI - Ian Kinsler 3 (58), Elvis Andrus (16)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Young-Kinsler-Blalock, Andrus-Kinsler-Blalock
E - Marlon Byrd (2, Misplayed grounder), Derek Holland (3, Misplayed grounder)
Texas Rangers
Derek Holland 4533441 6.02
Doug Mathis 2100020 1.93
Eddie Guardado 1000000 3.90
Darren O'Day 1000110 1.64
C.J. Wilson 2000040 2.88
Dustin Nippert (W,1-0) 2100120 5.40
HBP - Gomez (by Derek Holland)
Pitches-Strikes - Derek Holland 90-51, Doug Mathis 28-16, Eddie Guardado 9-6, Darren O'Day 10-6, C.J. Wilson 28-18, Dustin Nippert 45-27
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Derek Holland 4-4, Doug Mathis 2-1, Eddie Guardado 1-2, Darren O'Day 1-1, C.J. Wilson 1-1, Dustin Nippert 1-3
Batters Faced - Derek Holland 22, Doug Mathis 6, Eddie Guardado 3, Darren O'Day 4, C.J. Wilson 6, Dustin Nippert 8
Game Information
Attendance - 27204
Game Time - 3:50
Temperature - 93
Umpires - Home - Gary Cederstrom, First Base - Adrian Johnson, Second Base - Jim Wolf, Third Base - Brian O'Nora