MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Coming off his best start of the season, Twins left-hander Brian Duensing thought he had found some momentum. That was all washed away in two innings Friday night.
Five days after pitching eight scoreless innings in a win at Kansas City, Duensing struggled in Minnesota's 9-3 loss to the Texas Rangers. With Duensing leaving pitches up and too much in the middle of the plate, Texas sent 11 hitters to the plate and scored seven runs in the second inning. That hole was far too deep for the Twins to escape.
While Duensing (3-6) wasn't helped by the defense behind him in the second inning - only three of the runs were earned - he expected better.
``We're playing well now and to go out and basically not give us a chance right away is very frustrating,' said Duensing, who has lost six of his past seven decisions. ``I've got to find a way to get it done. I'm not getting it done right now, I know that.'
In a season in which he has repeatedly pitched in poor weather and gotten some bad breaks, Duensing called Friday's performance the most frustrating of the season.
``Once again, I had one of those innings where everything snowballed and I couldn't stop it, I just didn't make pitches,' Duensing said after being pulled after two innings. ``I didn't have it at all, it was the complete opposite (from Sunday). It's frustrating, but it's the game of baseball, I guess.'
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire described the entire evening - from the weather to Duensing's performance to the field conditions - as ugly.
``It was one of those innings that's a nightmare,' Gardenhire said. ``Couldn't stop it, couldn't find a way.'
Michael Young had three hits and three RBIs and Adrian Beltre added two hits and drove in two for the Rangers, who snapped an eight-game road losing streak against the Twins and won for the first time at Target Field.
C.J. Wilson (7-3) allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings to notch his fifth straight quality start.
It started raining in the second inning, right before Texas got rolling and Minnesota reverted to the sloppy play that has characterized most of its season.
Beltre led off with a walk and scored when Jason Repko slipped and bobbled Mike Napoli's single to center. Yorvit Torrealba delivered an RBI single and scored when shortstop Alexi Casilla misplayed Andres Blanco's bouncer.
Blanco scored on Craig Gentry's single, barely avoiding Drew Butera's tag at the plate. The close play drew Gardenhire out of the dugout to kick some dirt around home plate and argue briefly with umpire Dana DeMuth.
Young capped the second inning with a two-run single after Gardenhire stomped back to the dugout.
The rain let up to a light drizzle after the second and Wilson took advantage of some rare run support. The Rangers averaged fewer than two runs in Wilson's previous four starts before Friday.
Wilson also said the mound was difficult.
``Single worst conditions that I've seen maintained ever,' he said. ``It was like landing in a pot of brownie mix out there on the mound. ... It was the twilight zone. On both sides it was just really sloppy, it was like Bad News Bears out there on both sides of the ball.'
But the Twins injury-ravaged lineup couldn't take advantage.
Already missing Joe Mauer, Jim Thome, Jason Kubel and Denard Span, the Twins were without first baseman Justin Morneau on Friday. The former MVP sat out with a sore wrist and a pinched nerve in his neck that also affects his shoulder.
Butera had a career-high three hits and an RBI and Michael Cuddyer had two hits and an RBI.
The first-place Rangers are in the middle of a stretch of playing 17 of 20 games on the road. Before finally beating the Twins at Target Field, the Rangers were outscored 43-23 in their first seven games at the new stadium.
Gentry, Napoli and Torrealba all had two hits.
Notes: Nelson Cruz was the only Ranger to not reach base. ... Injured Rangers RHP Brandon Webb is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday. ... Scott Feldman will throw about 70 pitches for Double-A Frisco on Saturday as he works to return to the Rangers after right knee surgery. ... Mauer homered in his first at-bat for Class A Fort Myers on Friday. The Twins will determine Mauer's next step after he catches again Sunday.
The Associated Press News Service
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