MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Minnesota Twins' offense is still stuck in a slump.
In their 4-3 loss to Texas on Friday night, the Twins couldn't put together a rally until Oswaldo Aricia's three-run homer with two outs in the ninth.
Their only run in Thursday's loss came on Josh Willingham's homer.
The three-game losing streak follows five wins in a row where the Twins averaged nearly 10 hits a game, with many of the hits coming in key situations.
``It just one or two games, and the past two games could have gone either way,' Brian Dozier said.
The Rangers missed chances to add to their lead, twice getting thrown out at home plate. Geovany Soto was out trying to score from first on Mitch Moreland's second-inning double, and Elvis Andrus was tagged out trying to advance after Dozier's throw to third base skipped away from Trevor Plouffe in the third.
``We had a snowball fight out there where the ball was going all over the place. You gotta calm down on those things,' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``Fortunately it didn't hurt us too awful bad. But we did miss some plays and we have to do better than that.'
The lack of runs wasted a decent effort from starting pitcher Scott Diamond. The left-hander allowed three runs in 6 1-3 innings, two in the first inning and the third on Adrian Beltre's 419-foot homer to center field in the sixth.
``The first inning didn't go well, but I was able to get through six and a bit,' said Diamond (1-2). ``Definitely didn't have my best stuff, but I was able to get work with it.'
Texas rookie Justin Grimm (2-0) followed up his career-best nine-strikeout effort against the Seattle Mariners by shutting out Minnesota for seven innings, allowing five hits and no walks with four strikeouts.
The 24-year-old right-hander, filling in for the injured Matt Harrison, has allowed just one earned run in his past 15 1-3 innings.
``I just want to pitch for this team, whether it's in the rotation or not,' Grimm said. ``I want to prove that I belong here. That's the whole idea.'
It was the second straight game the Rangers got a stellar effort from a rookie pitcher. Nick Tepesch allowed just one run in the series opener on Thursday.
``They know they have the potential to get guys out and that's what they're doing,' Andrus said of the newcomers in the starting rotation. ``We trust in every guy who comes here and pitches. Either here or minor leagues, our mentality is to be ready.'
Joe Nathan picked up his eighth save when he got pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit to line out to center field for the final out.
NOTES: With back-to-back victories against Minnesota, the Rangers still have not lost a series to start the season. Texas has won five series and split two. ... Texas utility man Jeff Baker hasn't started since bruising his left knee making a diving catch on Tuesday, but was available to pinch hit. ... Mauer went hitless for the second straight game, just the second time he's done so in back-to-back games this season. He's just 2 for 17 (.118) in his past five games after going 24 for 61 to start the season. ... The Rangers will start left-hander Derek Holland (1-1) on Saturday. Pedro Hernandez (0-0) will go for the Twins.
The Associated Press News Service
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