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Texas at Minnesota

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Texas (71-56)000001001270
Minnesota (64-64) «30000000x370

Rookie Duensing pitches Twins past visiting Rangers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- As the powerful Texas Rangers continued to whiff at the soft-throwing Brian Duensing, Minnesota Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson asked the rookie left-hander if he was turning into a strikeout pitcher.

"There's no chance that's happening," Duensing said. "It was one of those nights. Maybe there were some shadows in the Dome."

Whatever works.

Duensing pitched like a veteran in his third career start, striking out eight in seven innings to lead the Twins to a 3-2 victory over the Rangers on Friday night.

Duensing (2-1) yielded three hits and walked one for the Twins, who have won eight of their last 10 games to creep back into contention in the AL Central.

"He was fantastic," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He used all of his pitches. He changed speeds. It was really fun to watch."

  Twins: Acquire right-hander Rauch from D-Backs

Tommy Hunter (6-3) surrendered three runs and seven hits in seven innings for the Rangers, who received an RBI double from David Murphy in the ninth and had the tying run on second base.

But Joe Nathan struck out Chris Davis looking on a close call for his 33rd save to pull Minnesota within four games of first-place Detroit in the division.

Twins catcher Joe Mauer had a run-scoring single and then made a key play when he threw out Elvis Andrus trying to steal second base in the eighth.

Duensing spent almost all of the first three months at Triple-A Rochester, and was being used primarily as a long reliever after being recalled at the beginning of July. Gardenhire inserted him into the rotation after injuries to Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins and Francisco Liriano.

Duensing walked Ian Kinsler to start the game, but retired the next 11. He didn't allow a hit until Nelson Cruz singled with two outs in the fourth.

"Since I've been recalled, the game has really slowed down and I've been feeling really comfortable on the mound," Duensing said. "I'm still nervous, but I try and relax and just try and play catch. So far, so good, I guess."

Both teams are in the thick of the playoff chase. The Rangers, who took two of three from the New York Yankees in the Bronx, fell 2½ games behind Boston in the AL wild card.

The Twins have a steeper hill to climb to catch Detroit and get to the postseason.

They started the game Friday night with a sense of urgency, getting an RBI single from Mauer, an RBI triple from Jason Kubel and made it 3-0 when Michael Cuddyer bounced one off Hunter's thigh for an infield hit.

It was a rough night in that regard for Hunter, who later took a liner to the chest off the bat of Justin Morneau. But he was able to stay in the game after both shots, showing the kind of toughness that should endear him to manager Ron Washington and the rest of his teammates as they chase their first playoff appearance since 1999.

"I'm quite sure he'll have some black and blue marks but he just showed the battler that he is," Washington said. "But I guess you've got to give Duensing his credit too because he made those three runs stand up."

Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a single in the sixth inning, but Murphy's double in the ninth just missed being a game-tying homer, bouncing high off the baggie in right field.

"Definitely the definition of coming up a little bit short right there," Murphy said.

Notes

  • Twins 3B coach Scott Ullger can add another title to his resume: groundskeeper. The game paused briefly in the top of the third inning when Hunter complained about a high spot on the pitching mound. Ullger came out of the dugout with a rake and pounded it down, and the game resumed.
  • If all goes well, Gardenhire said RHP Jeff Manship will pitch Tuesday against Chicago.
  • Texas RHP Pedro Strop worked a perfect eighth inning in his ML debut.
  • Kinsler stole two bases and has 26 this season.
 
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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Rookie Brian Duensing fans eight and yields just one run on three hits and a walk over eight innings.  (AP)
Rookie Brian Duensing fans eight and yields just one run on three hits and a walk over eight innings. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

B. Duensing
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 1
BB 1
K 8
Minnesota

J. Kubel
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Texas Rangers
Ian Kinsler, 2B3010101 .247
Michael Young, 3B4010012 .327
Josh Hamilton, CF4001001 .270
Nelson Cruz, RF4010012 .263
Ivan Rodriguez, DH4110011 .255
David Murphy, LF4011010 .263
Taylor Teagarden, C3000030 .192
   a- Hank Blalock, PH0000100 .238
    Julio Borbon, PR0000000 .378
Chris Davis, 1B4010022 .208
Elvis Andrus, SS3110001 .267
Totals3327229  
a-walked for Teagarden in the 9th
Batting
2B - Ivan Rodriguez (18, Nathan), David Murphy (17, Nathan)
RBI - Josh Hamilton (44), David Murphy (38)
2-OUT RBI - David Murphy (13)
SB - Ian Kinsler 2 (26, 2nd base off Duensing/Mauer, 2nd base off Guerrier/Mauer)
CS - Elvis Andrus (3, 2nd base by Guerrier/Mauer)
Team LOB - 6
Texas Rangers
Tommy Hunter (L,6-3) 7733030 2.95
Pedro Strop 1000010 0.00
HBP - Casilla (by Tommy Hunter)
Pitches-Strikes - Tommy Hunter 102-66, Pedro Strop 13-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tommy Hunter 10-8, Pedro Strop 1-1
Batters Faced - Tommy Hunter 29, Pedro Strop 3
Minnesota Twins
Denard Span, CF-LF4120002 .308
Orlando Cabrera, SS4000005 .277
Joe Mauer, C4111021 .372
Justin Morneau, 1B4000011 .293
Jason Kubel, DH4111000 .300
Michael Cuddyer, RF3011000 .275
Delmon Young, LF3000001 .264
    Carlos Gomez, CF0000000 .242
Brendan Harris, 3B3020010 .266
Alexi Casilla, 2B2000002 .204
Totals3137304  
Batting
2B - Denard Span (10, Hunter)
3B - Jason Kubel (2, Hunter)
RBI - Joe Mauer (79), Jason Kubel (73), Michael Cuddyer (64)
2-OUT RBI - Jason Kubel (28), Michael Cuddyer (20)
SB - Alexi Casilla (10, 2nd base off Hunter/Teagarden)
Team LOB - 5
Minnesota Twins
Brian Duensing (W,2-1) 7311180 4.37
Matt Guerrier (H,25) 1200000 2.30
Joe Nathan (S,33) 1211110 1.78
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Duensing 96-63, Matt Guerrier 16-10, Joe Nathan 18-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Duensing 7-6, Matt Guerrier 2-0
Batters Faced - Brian Duensing 25, Matt Guerrier 4, Joe Nathan 6
Game Information
Attendance - 21641
Game Time - 2:26
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Mike Estabrook, First Base - Jim Joyce, Second Base - Bill Miller, Third Base - Derryl Cousins