Closer Neftali Feliz squandered the lead in the ninth inning Tuesday, when the Twins scored twice to pull out a 9-8 victory a night after the Rangers' run-scoring barrage when they had the most runs and hits in the major leagues this season.
"It should have been enough. We certainly were in position to win it," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "We had the ball in the hands of the person we wanted to have it in. We just didn't get it done."
The Rangers, who had 27 hits in a 20-6 victory in the series opener, overcame an early 3-0 deficit against Carl Pavano and took an 8-7 lead into the ninth with the hard-throwing Feliz going to the mound.
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After Danny Valencia grounded out leading off the ninth, Delmon Young singled to center and pinch-hitter Jim Thome -- stuck on 596 career home runs since July 17 -- doubled on a towering flyball just out of the reach of Josh Hamilton's glove near the left-field wall. Young stopped at third after having to hold up to see if the ball would be caught.
With the infield playing in, Tsuyoshi Nishioka hit a slow roller that shortstop Elvis Andrus bobbled for an error while the tying run scored. Joe Mauer then drove home the go-ahead run with a pinch-hit double off Feliz (0-2).
It was the fifth blown save this season for the hard-throwing Feliz, who had given up a ninth-inning run in the rout Monday when he was on the mound after not pitching for a week.
"We got some breaks go for us last night and they had a couple of breaks go for them in the ninth and they came up with some big hits," Michael Young said.
The Rangers tried to rally in the ninth against Twins closer Joe Nathan.
Hamilton had a leadoff single in the ninth off Nathan, but was then retired on Young's fielder's choice grounder. Nelson Cruz was then hit by a pitch that appeared to barely graze his jersey, before Mitch Moreland and pinch-hitter David Murphy both struck out.
It was Nathan's eighth save in 11 chances this season, and his 254th career save for Minnesota to match Rick Aguilera's team record.
Cruz went 3 for 3, and has hit .600 (15 for 25) in a six-game hitting streak.
The Twins got three runs in the second off All-Star right-hander C.J. Wilson on RBI singles by Drew Butera, Ben Revere and Cuddyer.
After Wilson walked three consecutive batters to start the fifth, he was gone after Danny Valencia's two-run single extended his career-best hitting streak to 10 games.
"He just couldn't find the strike zone," Washington said. "Three walks and a base hit, and it didn't look like it was going to get any better."
Tsuyoshi Nishioka added an RBI single off reliever Tommy Hunter -- the sixth run charged against Wilson in the left-hander's shortest outing of the season.
Five of the six runs were earned against Wilson, who walked four and struck out three.
"I was just 100 percent unlucky, five infield hits or something like that, there were zero balls squared up, there were like bloopers and bleeders," Wilson said. "Last night's game everything went our way and tonight, things didn't go our way. It's as simple as that."
The Rangers, who had won 16 of their previous 19, scored twice in the bottom of the second to cut the gap to 3-2 and took the lead with a five-run fourth off Carl Pavano when Yorvit Torrealba hit a three-run homer. It was his first homer since April 25.
After the 3-0 deficit, Texas countered with a two-run second on consecutive RBI doubles by Cruz and Mitch Moreland, who was later thrown out at the plate on a close play.
Torrealba's RBI single in the fifth stretched Texas' advantage to 8-6, but Jason Kubel's run-scoring single in the sixth got the Twins within one.
Pavano gave up a season-high eight runs with nine hits in five innings.
Minor league OF Leonys Martin, the Cuban defector who signed a $15 million contract with the Rangers this season, is spending two days with the big-league club working with coach Gary Pettis on baserunning and outfield play. Martin will return to Triple-A Round Rock after the two-day tutorial, where he'll probably finish the season. ... Twins 1B Justin Morneau experienced migraine headaches during a rehab workout in Minnesota on Tuesday and shut the session down. Manager Ron Gardenhire said Morneau felt better after taking medication and could resume workouts on Wednesday. Gardenhire said he'd been told by team medical personnel that the headaches were not related to Morneau's past neck and concussion issues.